There may be some of you reading this post who are already long-term supporters of our Branch and know a lot about what we do and why we exist. However, I'm sure there are some of you who don't really know exactly what it is we do, and why we're here.
The RSPCA is a charity, and as such receives no funding from the government, instead relying on support and donations to exist. It is such an iconic brand, with 98% brand recognition, meaning that 98% of people recognise the RSPCA logo when they see it. However, the RSPCA means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
The words RSPCA stand for ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’. These words have gotten a little lost over the years as the RSPCA has become associated with every problem related to animals. Unfortunately we just do not have the resources to solve every issue. Where possible we will help, however our prime function is to support the Inspectorate and help to protect animals who are being cruelly treated. These include animals like Vince & Howard the baby bunnies (shown below), abandoned in a box, Rosie the American Bulldog who was left in a kitchen to starve to death and Leo the dog who was stabbed. These are the realities we see on a daily basis, and these animals have to be our priority.
What's the difference between National RSPCA and us?
There are two sides to the RSPCA. The first is National RSPCA who run the National Call Centre, employ Inspectors and run some of the large animal and wildlife hospitals, as well as promoting nationwide responsible pet ownership. The Inspectorate predominantly answer calls related to potential animal cruelty. They rescue animals from dire situations and that’s where we come in. Animal Collection Officers respond to calls relating to injured wildlife, stray/trapped animals and similar. Have a look here for more information on the work that National RSPCA do.
The Branches are the second side to the RSPCA. We are all independently-run charities and we raise the money required to remain open ourselves, which for us currently stands at around £7,000 per week. We rehabilitate and rehome those animals rescued by the Inspectorate, sometimes from horrific abuse and cruelty, to give them a second chance at a happy home. We don’t employ the Inspectorate ourselves, therefore we cannot take calls about the welfare of animals.
What are our limitations?
We only have space for a limited number of animals – anybody who has visited our Centre knows how short we are for space! We only technically have space for 22 dogs, 36 cats and a variety of small furries and our Branch area covers Derbyshire all the way from Matlock down to areas like Ilkeston. It’s a huge area for such a small Branch and it means that sadly we aren’t able to help everybody who comes to us privately to ask us to rehome their animals, as Inspector animals have to be our priority. We often have dogs staying in offices and animals in foster homes just to try to help as many animals as possible, but we do reach the point where we are full.
We often receive phone calls regarding stray dogs, however BY LAW they are the responsibility of the local dog wardens.
Our Branch also does not have a vet on-site so bringing injured animals, like wildlife, into our Centre is not in the animal's best interests as we are unable to give them the care that they need.
Promoting responsible pet ownership
Alongside our rehabilitation and rehoming work we also work within the local community to promote responsible pet ownership and offer some low-cost treatments in association with local vets.
We always urge everybody to think carefully before taking on an animal as they are a big commitment. We have genuine cases of owners calling us who really need to rehome their animals, for reasons out of their control. But for every call like that, we receive many more from owners who didn’t really think about the long-term commitment required when they took on their animal. We want people to take responsibility themselves rather than assuming that we will be here to take their animal if they do have a problem, as sadly quite often we just aren’t able to be.
So please everybody, spread the word about responsible pet ownership!