Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Woodhead Pass

We've gone over the Pennines twice this week picking up animals rescued by inspectors that had nowhere else to go. I'm not sure quite what that says about available resources in the area, animal welfare matters in the area, or our ability, at RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch, to be flexible and willing to help. 

In total we've taken in 7 cats, 6 rabbits and 1 dog. Yesterday Michelle and I didn't finish until 7pm and we were well and truly happy to be home. But is it not just all in a day's work for us?

This week has been the hardest for some time. It has been turbulent to say the least and full of anguish and anxiety that I couldn't possibly begin to share the details of, but it goes without saying it is all about the animals. By Thursday lunchtime we were well and truly battered and bruised emotionally. We had a rare moment of being in the same room as each other at the same time and for once we sat in silence as we ate our lunch. It's weeks like these that make you long for another job, to be made redundant because there is no more animal cruelty.

We can see that we have quite a journey ahead of ourselves with some of our new admissions. We can see we will have to cling to hope and a prayer if we are going to find homes for some of our animals. And we can see already just how 2014 is shaping up. I've never known such a stressful January, never seen so many kittens before and never had so many calls from people so destitute or ill that they cannot care for their animals anymore.

It's at times like these that I resent the people who acquire animals on a whim, or irresponsibly allow breeding. It's these people that very often prevent us from helping people and animals most in need because those people have created animal suffering, cruelty, neglect or abandonment. I've heard from callers all week long that there are simply no cat or dog spaces in any of the Greater Manchester animal sanctuaries; and I can well believe it.

We continue to prioritise the animals that our inspectorate rescue in the hope and belief that they are the neediest of society's animals. Let me introduce you to some of our new arrivals this week.

I don't know how well you can see Myrtle's claws in the pictures. In real life they betrayed the pitiful care and conditions she had been living in.

Myrtle was one of over 30 rabbits living in makeshift hutches on an allotment. It's hard to tell from the pictures but she is a British Giant. All the rabbits had been confined to hutches all their life. The majority overweight, including Myrtle, and had been used to breed from. We have concerns about some of the rabbit's sexual health (yes, they can contract syphilis) and some had been repeatedly breed from so much they have no discernible vulva.

Myrtle's claws were so overgrown that they protruded from her paws by nearly an inch. Stuck fast to the end of several claws were large globules or impacted faeces. This can only happen as a result of living in absolute filth. The overweight rabbits were unable to groom themselves sufficiently so there were dirty bottoms and impacted scent glands too, not to mention some suspect dental problems.

Baby Olly came from the same place; probably around 10 weeks old, this lop bunny boy has been rescued in the nick of time. We can now ensure that he gets a good diet and plenty of exercise in time for him to develop good health and good eating habits.

This latest group of admissions means that our rabbit tally has rocketed to over 30 once more. We really do need to find homes for our beautiful pairs and single men who have been waiting patiently for new homes. Until such time we can't admit any more rabbits again.

After 4 weeks of being closed to new admissions in the cattery due to mild flu-like symptoms we were finally able to admit new furries. Our last admissions had been Rudy and Donna on 22nd December who were abandoned in a woods in a box. We couldn't admit anyone sooner because the cold virus was still at work. But thanks to adoptions our 11 pen cattery saw us dwindle down to just 3 inmates, with 2 of them being reserved, leaving just our delightfully potty Jezebel waiting for a home.

So, it was with great relief this week that we were able to assist with a house full of 5 cats and 1 dog and take them all into our care at once. However, within hours it became apparent just how traumatic their ordeal had been, having been left to fend for themselves in a home without even litter trays. The word 'squalid' doesn't come near to describing the conditions that both humans and animals were living in. Needless to say both the humans and animals were given the helping hand they needed.

Much to our relief the cats are using their litter trays and have begun to eat. But they are a way off being ready for adoption as they huddle in fear together in their snuggle boxes. As for the dog, well he's in an even worst state and only time will tell.

The moment he stepped into his bed at the cattery.

And here is Logan. A late addition to our pick up yesterday. He was found abandoned in a terrible, matted state. The matting was so severe that he had to be sedated to remove his coat.. This was only done the day before but there was nowhere for him to go after his visit to the vets so a desperate call was made to us and we were only too happy to oblige. 

What was so remarkable about Logan was that even after 2 hours of travelling, including those horrible corners on the Woodhead Pass, he went straight into his new cosy bed and started purring as he got a fuss. And whilst he may look like he is wearing a funky body warmer he is in fact bald as a result of his neglectful state.

So, all in a day's work? Maybe, but not next week thanks. We need a bit of a breather so we can recover and re-energise in time for the next storm. I doubt we'll ever be surplus to requirements, but it's good to dream.