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Concern grows over RSPCA


Over the last few years more and more dog lovers have become disillusioned by the RSPCA policies. Many including MP Frank Field and Roger Gale MP have voiced concerns that the RSPCA has on a number occasions overstepped the mark regarding what is considered by most to be sensible and have taken out prosecutions on soft targets (as reported in Our Dogs last year and in the magazine Disability Now).

Earlier this year the RSPCA were featured on BBC 1 on their consumer programme Inside Out. During this program the organisation was criticized for prosecutions which turned out to be groundless, but had in the process made life for those they prosecuted very unpleasant. The program was entitled ‘Kind to Animals, Cruel to owners’. Everyone featured in the program had been cleared of all charges.

A few weeks ago the RSPCA was featured in the national newspapers for taking two very over weight dogs from their owner, under the new animal welfare act. Many similar cases where
support and help would have been much more productive have been reported across all media. For many years pedigree rescue groups have complained that the RSPCA will not allow them to help re-home dogs taken in at their centers. The RSPCA told us that when they get in a large number of dogs for re-homing such as the case of the two hundred Labradors a few years ago or more recently the St Bernards, they will work with breed rescues, but if it is only one dog their policy is not to work with a breed rescue as they feel that it is good to allow a wider choice of potential owners to apply for that dog. As many breeders will be aware some breeds do have specific needs and can a general rescue possibly understand every breed and its individual needs?

There is a growing concern that the RSPCA does not want to be seen to be working with the Kennel Club or its breed clubs bearing in mind its high profile pull out from Crufts earlier this year, and on going cool relationship.

Last week the RSPCA were accused of killing a pet cat called Luna, one hour after they had picked it up as a stray. The three year old cat had been let out by her owners Harry and Jennifer Hamilton, a neighbour saw Luna in their garden and not recognising the cat assumed she was a stray and called the RSPCA. Twenty minutes after this call the inspector arrived and an hour later poor Luna was dead! She had been euthanized, on arrival at a local vets, it was decided she was a stray and naturally being upset due to being handled by strangers she was described as being vicious.

Luna’s owners plan to take legal action against the RSPCA as they believe they should have kept Luna for a minimum of 28 days, before having her put to sleep. This has left Luna’s owners devastated. Although the RSPCA have apologised for this incident it has to be said that this is not enough. To many people their pets are like their children and are important members of any family.

At Our Dogs we have received a number of reports including one from a manager of a kennel which acts as a RSPCA re-homing center, as well as taking in boarders. The manager claims that the RSPCA have issued strict instructions not to keep any dog longer than seven days. This is not the first time we have heard this of alleged policy being pushed forward by the RSPCA. When a report was received by Our Dogs that inspectors had been told to put any wildlife cases they came across to sleep immediately, we asked the RSPCA about this and they said this was not true.

There is also a sad case regarding Afghans featured in this week’s Afghan notes.

As we now have a right to Freedom of Information which has brought MPs and the BBC into public scrutiny, perhaps it is time animal lovers looked into the RSPCA and how it is run. The money left in legacies and other donations goes to the head-quarters and the local branches have to do their own fund raising for the animals in their care. A complete and open break down of the RSPCA’s income and spending would help allay some of the negative comments being heard from all quarters. It really does not need to have a scandal like that reported in the national media as happened when they were criticised for their spending on houses and other benefits some years ago. Statistics for the period between 2000 and 2006 show complaints investigated, down 3.3%, inspections, down 95.6% animal collections, down 18.7%, homes found, down 30.8%, treatments, down 18.9% but humane destructions up 85.7%, income, up 66.1% expenditure, up 34.4% and cost of generating funds, up 91.8%. In 2007 the RSPCA are estimated to have received donations excluding legacies of £35 million. As a major charity and a much loved charity by members of the public and many dog breeders it can only lose respect by not being more open about its policies and its finances and also by not showing more care for animals that apparently are being put down too readily. There is a phrase about people in glass houses.

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I recently asked for help from the RSPCA to attend to a seagull which had a fishing hook and line through it's beak, it was obviously having trouble eating but try as best we could I could not catch the bird which would not come down off the flat roof even for food and I could not climb onto the roof quick enough to catch it.
 
The RSPCA said they could not attend as the bird may have flown off before they could get there, when I asked if I could borrow a long handled net to try to catch the bird I was told they could not loan out equipment. The bird was finally caught by my son with the aid of a washing basket he cut through the hook and the bird has come back every day for food and appears to be ok no thanks to the RSPCA. I know seagulls are classed as a nuisance but the bird was suffering and needed help so why so negative in their attitude to this problem perhaps there was no chance of a prosecution.

William

It's about time the general public realised what the RSPCA are really like!so very sorry to hear about Lunar, my heart  goes out to the owners.....an occasion when they actually got off their backsides and went...and got it all so wrong!!!! My father in law rang them about a limping stray cat and they told him to leave it as it would go home!!! They really do need sorting out with their attitudes!!!!!  The ££S spent on the disgusting and disturbing piles of dead dogs in bags pictures they had at crufts a few years ago. The money would have been better spent on more inspectors...or  maybe not, judging poor Lunars case.Oh and why have they not got on with anything to do with the closing down of puppy farms???Sadly i think they are a disgrace,and are really losing the plot.

Lynn.M

The SSPCA are exactly the same !!!! they do not have to respond under the Freedom of Information Act ! i dont know WHY? IF you want to find out where the SSPCA money is spent you have to BE A MEMBER!!!! OR threaten them with the OSCR charities regulator! they dont turn up unless they will get a lot of publicity and anyone that queries or questions their motives/actions will be persecuted!!! The RSPCA spent MILLIONS ON ADVERTISING LAST YEAR and the SSPCA were the same! surely in this current financial crisis the money SHOULD BE SPENT ON SAVING ANIMALS ! LIKE WHAT THEY PROCLAIM THEY DO??? People donate money to SAVE animals NOT to fund an advertising campaign!!! They are above the law and use it completly wrong! I would NEVER EVER donate to them! They should be glad of the help offered from breed specific rescues! look at the amount of poor SBT's that are being murdered DAILY! in these supposed rescues!!! They are a complete and utter joke! but that sad fact is that poor pets are PTS through no fault of their own! just pure and total bad luck ending up in an RSPCA/SSPCA home!

Allison Black

Prevention ??   They dont actually prevent anything all they want is to prosecute people who with a little help and advice would understand what their animals needs are. But by the time cameras are in place or Rolf Harris is available I fear cruelty will continue. We are still waiting help for some dogs in our area some 11 months afteer we reported their plight but are told the sisiation is 'being monitored'  and the situation is still the same as when we reported it.

Jane McInnes

I thought the RSPCA were formed to PREVENT cruelty to animals but they appear to wait until situations have got so bad they will get a prosecution. They could prevent so mrch more if they responded to requests for help before situationd got out of control but by the time they have waited for Rolf Harris or a camera crew have arrived the suffering of the animal has gone beyond recall as the fate of the fox in  a snare showed on TV a week or so ago.  We locally still await something being done re some dogs reported to the a year ago each time we ask we are told it is being monitored .

Jane McInnes

9 years ago my semi feral cat I had rescued was tragically run over & I subsequently visited my local RSPCA to enquire about rehoming 2  kittens. (I had 4 dogs & wanted kittens to grow up with them & not be frightened by them)I was told in no uncertain terms that because I worked 3 days a week I could rehome adult cats but not kittens, I even explained my neighbour would be coming in to check on them whilst I was at work. The RSPCA were not interested & just kept quoting 'policy' to me. Needless to say I got my kittens from elsewhere, my husband cancelled his RSPCA credit card & I refuse to support the RSPCA in any shape or form to the benefit of other animal charities. Later that year the RSPCA were on my local news appealing for people to come & adopt cats & kittens as they were inundated- surely each prospective adopter should be judged on merit & not blanket policy.Who are they to play god!

Karen Davies

Yes the RSPCA HEADQUARTERS is a massive waste of people's benevalent nature abnd this should be fully investigated as should the claims of their inspectors not adhereing to policy and wouldn't it be a good idea for them to adopt a NO-Destroy policy, save for those unfortunatre situations where there realyl is no option.  However, let's not tar everyone with the same brush the Wonderful People that day in day out work in the local RSPCA centres and who make a difference every day to the poor unfortunetly animals within their care, do not deserve to be brought into this arguement.
 
Go for the Organisation, but praise those who are making a difference and remember, if you bring down the organisation where are all those unfortunate animals going to end-up? PTS?????
 
Keith Gullis



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