Sunday, 19 May 2013

Our Legacy

It has been a peculiar week of extremes. We've had the best news we could have wished for and seen the most extreme form of neglect I hope I never get to witness first hand ever again. In between there has been much, much more turbulence, but we are at least ending the week on a high note with some long overdue reserves on animals and a sense of achievement after delivering a very successful Vintage Tea Party yesterday, which achieved a whopping profit of £675!

The exceptionally good news came in the form of a legacy that has rescued us from us pending closure. We had no idea it was coming but it has meant that our future is definitely secure well into 2014. Of course we won't be resting on our laurels, the fundraising events will be plentiful and two in the planning are already exciting us, but for now I want to focus on the one of the reasons why people are so kind enough to support our work and leave such bequests.

Pictured above in the carrier is a petite, black and white cat that was found by a mother and her children as they walked home from school one afternoon this week. The cat and the carrier had been abandoned, just as you can see, on a residential street in Chorlton. Thankfully the family were not far from our offices and brought her to us. The initial panic of where we were going to put her quickly subsided when a very apparent stench came wafting from the carrier. 

As you peered into the carrier it became clear that the poor cat was quite badly matted. I assumed the stench was because the cat was an entire male and so swiftly named him Pepe Le Pew, after all what else would you call a stinky, black and white male cat? I didn't get Pepe out of the carrier and instead went straight down to the vets knowing full well that if nothing else he would need to be sedated to remove all the matting.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for what myself and the vet discovered as we took Pepe out of the carrier and examined him. The pictures below are upsetting, hence the warning. So, if you don't want to continue, stop now.

This is a view of Pepe's belly. Matts are so bad that they obscure limbs and are caked in faeces and urine.

View from above. The cat is virtually unrecognisable.

The vet holds a solid matt that is so large that it is the size of half a football. This matt is just above the tail.

View from above, my hand stroking the cat's head, and the massive matt and on the back.

Distressing full image of the extent of the matting.

Lower back matting is just one solid mass.

The lower back matt and below the tails that is solid with faeces and urine.
Pepe was actually a girl. The stench was from matts impacted with faeces and urine. It is unfathomable how the poor cat managed to move around, which she clearly did because embedded in her matting were plant seeds. The extent of the neglect worsened as an exam of her mouth revealed terrible dental decay and she must have been in considerable pain from her rotting teeth and would have struggled to eat.

I'll be honest, I was in a state of shock at the extent of the neglect that stood before me. The most I could manage was the occasional swear word, but as I drove away, knowing she was finally in safe hands, I began to well with tears. I hope I never witness such extreme neglect first hand ever again; it really was incomprehensible; the pictures don't illustrate just how bad it really was.

The next day Pepe was relieved of her coat of burden after a lengthy procedure under sedation. Her matts filled a large carrier bag. Myself and the local RSPCA inspector went to see Pepe and to discuss investigation but with nothing to go on there was little we could do to find the perpetrator. Even more of a blow was the fact that blood tests had revealed that Pepe was in renal failure. It was the worst news and not what we were expecting. 
With great reluctance Pepe was put to sleep to end any further suffering. She had at least had a day of freedom from that hideous coat of matts, but what a hideous abuse of an animal. My sadness very quickly turned to anger, and I am still angry. My greatest thought was simply, "Why couldn't her owner have abandoned her sooner?" Pepe could have been saved from months of misery if only her owner had simply cared about her enough to abandon her sooner. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning animal abandonment, it is illegal to do so, but given that some was motivated to do this in the first place, and in such a random location,  it just feels like a natural thought to question why they left it so long.

Whilst there is no evidence to go on to investigate Pepe's case further, I was somewhat reassured by our local inspector. He felt that she was part of a jigsaw that would likely reveal itself some day. I hope he's right because no-one should be allowed to get away with this level of animal cruelty. 

Whilst we may not have been able to save Pepe this time I am grateful for the fact she is no longer living in pain and misery. Her emergency care and vet treatment amounted to £240. Thankfully the legacy we received means that we can continue for some months to come to help animals like Pepe when they need us most. But really, I don't want to see another Pepe ever again.