The week has been long, eventful and full of contrasting emotions. We started the week with the elation of having received very welcome financial support (as mentioned last time) but then the frustration of being a small, struggling charity soon welled to the fore as we had the onerous task of implementing cut backs in our animal intakes.
On the very same day we were evacuated in the afternoon due to a raging fire two doors down. Thankfully no-one was hurt, but a lesson learnt - the fire was started by a computer on standby. Scary, or what?!
So, we now have to aim towards halving the number of rabbits in our care, which means we need to find homes for approx 12. Of course, if it were as easy as all that we wouldn't have so many long stay bunnies, would we, but we have had one bobtailed friend find a new home this week, and a pretty special one at that!
If you haven't seen our 'Rabbit Romeos' yet then please take a look at the website - Burt is the lucky fella to find lurve!
He has been snapped up to live with the beautiful Tallulah bunny. Aw, cute! And I'm delighted to see that my fave bunny boy, Ira, is winning the poll. Before you ask why I don't adopt him, it's simple, I have 8, and they are all house rabbits. So, I really can't have any more!
We also have to start to reduce the number of cats we take into foster care, which is seriously tough because these are the cats that need us the most, but unfortunately they usually cost us the most due to health/welfare needs.
And because we simply cannot afford the kenneling costs anymore we have had to halve our capacity from the start of the year, which means we can now only kennel 4 dogs.
All in all it makes all feel really rather lousy but the animals need us and that's purely what's kept us all focused during this frustrating week.
The high point was certainly the outcome of a prosecution. We have been caring for 5 rabbits for nearly 12 months now, waiting for the case to conclude. It finally happened on Wednesday and the perpetrators were sentenced and the furries signed over to our care, which means we can finally find them forever homes. The previous owners were convicted for failing to provide a suitable diet and veterinary care. They received a 5 year ban on keeping animals but were allowed to keep two pets. One of them got 150 hours community service and the other a 4 month curfew - whatever that means. They were also ordered to pay £100 costs.
If you had seen the state of some of the animals, when they first arrived, you would feel quite angered toward this sentencing. Not to mention the thousands of pounds of money it has taken to bring the case to court. But with such a lapse in time and such a turn around in the animals' health, it's just a relief to us all that we have won and we get to find them the homes they truly deserve. I'm not holding my breath mind, the way rabbit adoption has been going this year they'll probably be with us for another 12 months, but I can't wait until that day happens.
I learnt this week that our branch covers the majority of the 'wards' that are in the top 10% deprived areas in the country - in fact, we cover 25 out of those 33. When you look at it like that it shows why our income is so poor and why the demands for help is so high. Being able to meet that demand is never going to happen (and that's with a large number of other sanctuaries and rescues in the area too) but it does at least throw into sharp relief why we are struggling so much financially.
Take, for example, our annual Mutt Strutt with Nowzad Dogs. The first year we ran it was 2009 and we raised around £900, second year we raised £1400, but this year we only have 5 people signed up for the sponsored walk (aside from our dogs that is). I heard on the radio yesterday that the average person's disposable income is just £100 a month. So, sponsoring your mate and their dog to walk round a park suddenly seems such a frivolous luxury. The lack of interest in the Mutt Strutt therefore understandable. But it's not ,until 17th September so hopefully by then, more people will sign up. (You get to geo-cache too!)
But, as I mentioned previously, it's focusing on the animals that makes us keep perspective, and this week we've been able to take in 2 new dogs, a cat and a kitten.
The new cat is called Taz. He is a big, black, panther of a cat that went and got himself stuck up a 60 foot tree. He had to be rescued by fireman - so there's a new approach for you singletons out there for bagging a date, hey! Anyhow, the poor lad is afflicted with dental disease so needs a costly op next week. And, he sadly adds to our growing number of black cats that are being overlooked. Another one, Ben, is our longest stay resident all because he is black. I wouldn't mind but he has the most awesome personality. But hopefully his time will come soon.
Ronnie is one of the new dogs. He was rescued from a home over-run by animals. He is the sweetest older gent, but again he has bad dental disease so he'll be in for an op next week too. Between him and Taz we are looking at in excess of £350 just to sort out their teeth. It's hardy surprising that pets are often the first to suffer when times are hard.
We are really hopeful that the bank holiday will bring much needed renewed interest in cat and rabbit adoptions and we get lots of calls next week for offers of homes. In the meantime, as his campaign manager, I am obliged to urge you to vote for Ira!