The daily fight by East Coast RSPCA to rescue injured animals - and pay for veterinary care
The work of animal charities on the East Coast is well known, all their volunteers go beyond the call of duty to protect, heal and care for abandoned, sick and horribly injured animals - and try and find them new loving homes.
One is the RSPCA East Norfolk branch – a local self-funding charity which receives no government or lottery cash, instead it raises all its funding within the local area. And this extends from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston to the south, almost as far as Cromer in the north and inland up to and including the outskirts of Norwich and to Harleston in Suffolk.
This year alone, the charity has taken in 353 cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets.
Nearly all were sick or injured in some way, and of these 263 of these have been rehabilitated and found new homes. Thirteen were returned to their owners and 17 feral cats were released back in to the wild after being neutered.
The branch still has more than 50 animals currently in their care, recovering and waiting for homes.
Spokeswoman Debra Cook said: “As we are financially restricted we are unable to fund an animal centre, so we rehome from a private boarding kennels and cattery where we rent spaces for our animals. The majority are all in foster homes of which we are lucky to have seven.
“We are fortunate to be one of only 37 branches that have a welfare clinic. We open twice a week to people who are struggling financially so they can get subsidised veterinary care for their animals. All this is subsidised by our branch.
“Once an inspector has collected an animal within our area they are brought to us or the vets if seriously injured. All further veterinary care and neutering to enable that animal to recover is paid for by the local branch.
“This is where our fundraising is vital to ensure we can do this. We have three shops which help to fund some of the welfare work that we do but there is still a huge void to fill. At a local level we have no more than 10 regular donators to which we are indebted to.
“We work around the clock and try to help as many animals as we can, with a limited staff. However, we have a wonderful team of enthusiastic volunteers who help us to keep our shops open, man the reception desk at clinic, do home visiting and so much more.”
Debra added: “The expectation of people is often the hardest to deal with as they don’t know the real situation. They believe we have unlimited funds and do not understand the daily struggles of finding spaces and funds for animals that need us. We do have some great supporters locally who know us and the lengths we go to.
“Most of the animals that come to us are in a terrible state, many take weeks or months of treatment and with this comes the cost of veterinary care. We do not have our own vets so have to buy in services locally from different practices.
“Luckily the vets are very good to us and if an animal can be saved then that’s what we do. We never, ever put an animal to sleep unless it’s on veterinary advice, and will fight to find the money. So, if you see us on a fundraiser, then pop in 50p because that does make a difference to us.”
This year the charity has run regular neutering campaigns every week for cats, held free vet sessions and free dog and cat microchipping. And volunteers and staff have actively been out constantly picking up mums and kittens born outside. Many being discarded by owners.
Debra said: “People can help by donating clothes to our shops, volunteering, donating much-needed cat food, or joining the team as a home visitor, trustee etc.”
See website www.rspcaeastnorfolk.co.uk.