- I would first like to thank every one who has supported Ian and I
through this nightmare very much. It has made the whole thing more bearable
than it would have been otherwise. I am well aware that we are about
to be ripped to pieces in a "politically correct fashion"
and would hope that you are all aware that RSPCA staff are very well
educated at this and that you will not necessarily accept all at face
- I would also like to say that what follows is not a case of sour
grapes. I have been feeling very disillusioned about the whole RSPCA
structure and treatment of volunteers long before March and any of this
- I see little point in making any statement about the case itself
other than to say that the witness statements are full of half-truths,
innuendos and lies. I have been assured (by the inspectorate) that the
inspectorate behaved impeccably and it seems to me that they believe
that the end justifies the means. (The end in this case is that my cat
has been stolen by her fosterer and we are unlikely to ever see her
- I will however ask why if there was considered to be a problem did
no-one approach me about it to start with? I have known and worked with
these people for 7 years. It is, and has been well known that a) my
father has cancer, b) I am ill, and c) my son was in hospital at the
time. Did it not occur to any one to see if the supposed problem was
a temporary hiccup or a larger more permanent one?
- I DO NOT attribute any blame to the Branch for what has happened.
I was doing no more than the other members who are now even more thinly
spread. If blame is to be apportioned anywhere. RHQ and HQ are the areas
of the organisation which issue more and more demands on the services
and good nature of their volunteers, they make life highly difficult
and then if there is a problem jump from a great height while attempting
to clear themselves at the same time.
- I do not believe that HQ or RHQ have any idea why volunteers take
on such a difficult role. Do they think we are all bored middle class
housewives with nothing better to do? I know it is believed that we
are quite capable of "ruining the brand name." (as quoted
by a senior member of HQ staff) For as long as I can remember there
has never been any genuine encouragement or acknowledgement from the
staff other than political niceties.
The majority of volunteers struggle on for the sake of the animals while
at the same time putting their lives, homes, families and in my case
health on hold to continue doing the best they can for as long as they
can. Unfortunately the best just never seems to be good enough.
- Although Branches are allocated a "Branch Development Advisor"
ours over the years has proved to be as useful as a chocolate teapot,
and seems to be more interested in ingratiating herself to the inspectorate
and regional manager than helping out the volunteers in a practical
- I would also like to point out that it is not possible for fosterers
to re-create animal centre conditions within their own homes or gardens
and certainly without the same amount of financial and physical back
up. Branches possess neither of which unless they are very lucky.
- I think that inspectors should not consider owned animals in the
same light as un-owned ones. If Custard had been an un-owned animal
and had come in to be re-homed I would have considered the kindest thing
would have been to put him to sleep. However he was a much loved, happy
member of the family and although he was old and decrepit could probably
have had a happy and content summer before euthanasia was considered.
Owners are in a much better position to invest time and money in an
aging pet and I on the whole believe many do. I do not think that an
inspector can be informed enough to make a snap, on the spot decision
about whether an owned animal is suffering or not. Neither do I believe
that the uniform should give them the right to play God.
- It seems to me that the inspectorate policy towards any animal with
either an age issue, or an ongoing health problem is euthanasia. This
makes life easy for them in as much as it clarifies the ambiguousness
of the animal suffering debate. They seem to work on the policy of "if
in doubt PTS" which in my book is appalling. I can fully understand
that if an elderly un-owned animal arrives and has numerous problems
it would be kinder and more responsible to euthanase it rather than
spend large amounts of money treating a cat which is a) not going to
get better and b) spend the rest of it's life in a cattery. I do not
believe that it is the right approach for everything with an ongoing
problem. Neither do I believe that it is right for them to think that
owners are guilty of cruelty or neglect if they do not see the situation
in the same light. Just imagine if humans were treated the same way.
"Oh Granny has a bad case of arthritis let have her euthanased"
- The only thing I can hope is that this whole sorry episode serves
its purpose and that the unbearable, un-workable system and ridiculous
attitudes are changed for the better.