21st Dec 2016
Make sure your pets have a happy, healthy Christmas
If you can't indulge in a few treats at this time of year, when can you? Whether it's some scrumptious mince pies, a festive tipple or tucking into a tin of sweets, we all like to spoil ourselves. However, did you know there are lot of things on a Christmas menu that can be harmful to pets? These include:
Chocolate (especially dark chocolate)
Sultanas, raisins, currants (and food containing these, mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding)
Then there are the ever greens, plants and decorations we bring indoors:
There are also choking hazards such as cracker toys, bows, poultry bones even tinsel and wrapping paper! Of course, pets are part of the family and we want you to enjoy Christmas with them. However, by being aware of potential dangers you will be able to have a peaceful festive time and avoid a trip to the vets.
It is advisable to find out what your vet practice opening hours are over Christmas and New Year incase of emergencies. Give them a ring, it doesn't hurt to be prepared!
There are more useful hints at the national RSPCA website.
Everyone here at RSPCA Nottingham and Notts Branch would like to thank you for your support and we wish you all, 2 and 4 legged, a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
23rd Nov 2016
Helpful hints for keeping our prickly pals happy and safe
It has been a relatively mild Autumn, albeit a soggy one! That means hedgehogs may still be trundling around, looking for food to put on weight for hibernation. To survive the hibernation period, a hedgehog needs to weigh at least 500grams (1.1lb) The colder it is, the heavier the heggies need to be. There are a couple of sites we want to direct you to that have lots of information about these lovely, unique British mammals. Everything from encouraging them into your garden, advice on caring for and feeding hedgehogs as well as other ways you can help.
What the British Hedgehog Preservation Society don't know about hegehogs probably isn't worth knowing. They have a wealth of experience and can be contacted by telephone on 01584 890 801 as well as via their website.
There is also information via the RSPCA National site.
If you are worried at all about a hedgehog, think you've found a youngster or an injured animal, then please contact the BHPS on the number above and the RSPCA National Control Centre on 0300 1234 999 who will be able to give you advice.
12th September 2016
Pets are curious and this curiousity can lead to situations that at best can make your pet sick and at worst, prove fatal. This is why it's important to educate your self about the dangers of a lot of common household items, food and plants that are dangerous to pets.
How can I prevent my pet from being poisoned?
No pet is ever completely safe from poisoning, they'd never go outside or explore again! However, there are some measures you can take to remove (or store correctly) known potential toxins in the home and also be aware of what's poisonous outdoors. The VETERINARY POISONS INFORMATION SERVICE (VPIS) is a specialist 24-hour emergency service which provides info to vets and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxic substances. This is not a public access service however, there is some useful info here.
Here are some common substances, foods and plants that you should keep out of reach from pets:
- Lilies, narcissus and daffodils (including all parts of the flower, leaves, stems and bulbs)
- Slug Pellets (containing metaldehyde)
- Anti-freeze (containing Ethylene glycol)
- Rodent poisons
- Permethrin (found in some dog flea treatments but harmful to cats)
- Petroleum distillates (varnishes, paint, paints and glass cleaners etc)
- Raisins, grapes, sultanas, currants (or any food product containing these eg fruitcake)
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in sugar free gum)
- Human medication (NEVER give your pet any medicine unless under veterinary supervision)
- Conkers and acorns (harmful to dogs)
- Ivy, Yew and rhododendrons
- Rock salt (used on roads in freezing weather)
- Rhubarb, foxgloves, ivy and glyphosate herbicide products are toxic to rabbits
- Ragwort, Yew, Leyland cypress, Oak (inc acorns) and Phenoxy herbicides are toxic to horses
This is not a complete list and if you are worried about other potential toxins, please contact your vet to discuss further.
What you should do if you think your pet has been poisoned:
1. Stay calm. Remove your pet from the source of poison.
2. Contact your vet immediately and follow their advice.
3. If possible, get a sample of what you think has poisoned your pet but
don't expose yourself to danger.
4. Keep your pet away from any others you have to avoid cross contamination.
It is critical you contact your vet as soon as possible as the quicker the animal receives treatment the better. Never 'watch and wait'.
We urge people to be extra careful at this time of year with pet 'flea' treatments. Dog flea and tick treatment can be fatal to cats or dogs smaller than the dose was intended for. It's the height of the pest season and we get asked for advice from folks who have spent money on proprietary brands but still have an infestation. Our advice is always go to your vet who can talk you through the multiple options that are available and are specifically suitable for your pet.
L to R, local Inspectors Dave, Kristie and Animal Collection Officer Caitlin.
5th July 2016
Here's to the lads and lassies in uniform!
The RSPCA is the oldest animal welfare charity in the world. Let's take a minute to think about that...the oldest in the world! In fact, the RSPCA Inspectorate had uniforms BEFORE the police did! The British are known worldwide as a 'nation of animal lovers'. However, the fact that the RSPCA exists and has been around for over 140 years goes to show, animals lovers may be a majority but there is a persistant minority who hurt and abuse creatures that Inspectors, Animal Welfare Officers and Animal Collection Officers have to deal with.
Inspectors, AWOs and ACOs work from the National RSPCA but the areas they cover come under individual branches. A 'local' Inspector to this Branch can often cover 3 sometimes 4 counties (Notts, Derbyshire, Leics and Lincs) and with that geographical area comes umpteen branches! For instance, we are Nottingham and Notts but the county is also covered by Notts West Branch (Mansfield) and Notts East Branch (Newark). Each branch, although following guidelines and being under the umbrella of the national RSPCA, is responsible for their own spending. For example, we fund a low cost neutering scheme, but neighbouring branches don't. Other branches (nationally) may run clinics and there are of course the national hospitals and animal centres.
An Inspector who picks up an animal in one postcode but has another collection in the adjoining postcode may find the animals come under 2 different branch areas! We know it's complicated and we dare say, frustrating at times...especially for new Inspectors to the area. As a branch, we always try and assist the uniformed part of the society because it's these men and women who face often horrendous situations daily.
If we can help in any way, we do. We have recently supplied 3 new cat traps for Inspectors, we fund ongoing veterinary treatment after the initial veterinary treatment (IET) payment from National RSPCA has been used and of course, pay for housing animals when the RSPCA Radcliffe animal Shelter is full. The relationship this branch has with Inspectors is one we are proud of as we know just how difficult their job is, hence any assitance we can offer is given gladly.
We started this post with a fact and we'll finish with a couple too. There are currently approx 478 uniformed officers working across England and Wales. That's 340 Inspectors, 50 Animal Welfare Officers and 88 animal collection officers. There are approximately 127,000 police officers covering the same area. We wanted to say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the Inspectors, AWO's and ACO's who cover our branch area and work with such dedication for local Nottingham animals. You go above and beyond. The emergency services are government funded whilst the RSPCA is a charity, able to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome abused animals and crucially prosecute those who responsible solely because of the generosity of animal lovers like you.
16th May 2016
Rambling on about rabbits because bunnies really do need buddies!
You have probably read on our homepage about our upcoming event at Rushcliffe Country Park on Sat 4th June. The 'Ramble at Rushcliffe' is a few hours of family orientated fun with kids games, including 'Brambles Ramble'. Bramble the rabbit is our mascot for the day and we are using him to promote rabbit welfare and general care. 18th - 26th June 2016 is Rabbit Awareness Week. Bunnies are in the top 5 most popular pets here in the UK. However, their welfare needs are sadly often not met and many rabbits live miserable, unstimulated lives. One basic thing bunnies require to keep them happy is company. Rabbits in the wild live in large, social groups and our domesticated pets really do need a bunny buddie so as not to get lonely. There is lots of info on the RAW site about this. However, one thing to be wary of when bonding rabbits is the VERY real possibility that unless the animals are sexed correctly (if not spayed/neutered), you will end up with more rabbits than you know what to do with!
That's where the Ramble comes in! We can help with the cost of neutering (neutering assistance is something we run continuely) but for 1 day only on Saturday 4th of June, our rabbit assistance vouchers will be £25 instead of £10! The offer is for collection on the day only (between 11am and 3pm) and a maximum of 3 vouchers per household.
People sometimes assume rabbits are easy pets to care for, that you can stick them in a hutch, give them carrots and they will look after themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are complicated to understand behaviour/health wise as they are 'prey' animals. This means they will hide any illness or pain very well. Regular veterinary checks, just as you would give a cat or dog, are required. Diet, housing, environment and behaviour need to be researched and provided so that your bunny pals remain happy and healthy. For any more info, please email email@example.com
Also, here's an interesting infographic on how to read a rabbit's mood.
14th Apr 2016
Spring special cat neutering offer~ only £20 ~ 5th April to 6th May
We love cats here at Radford Road. However, we also know there are too many of our feline friends around who don't have the homes they deserve. This branch has offered low cost neutering for years to anyone who lives in our branch area. That's the only qualifying criteria! We send vouchers out to assist with small pet neutering (rabbits, guinea pigs etc) and do reduced cost for cats and dogs, we can even help with transport for cats. Mogs are just too good at reproducing, therefore we decided to run this special offer until 6th May for anyone who needs to get their cat/s neutered or spayed. For more details on how to book, see our neutering page.
Spread the word as this offer only lasts another 3 weeks. The cost will then return to £30.
8th Apr 2016
11th Feb 2016
Chips! Chips with everything!
On the 6th April 2016, it will be a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped if you live in England or Wales. Here at the RSPCA Nottingham and Notts Branch, we would love to see all companion animals chipped but this is a good place to start. Stories which have recently featured in the press including Clive the cat and Bella the dog illustrate why microchipping is so important. This blog entry will hopefully answer a few FAQs and inform some people who are still reluctant to have their canine chum chipped!
What exactly is a microchip?
A microchip or idchip is a device, around the size of a grain of rice (see pic below) which is implanted by injection between your pets shoulder blades (depending on species). The chip contains a unique number which can be found when the animal is scanned. That number is held on a database accompanied by the pets registered keepers details. Once the chip number is obtained, the database will be contacted who will then give the phone number and address of the registered keeper to us. This simple process will end in pet and person being reunited.
How much does it cost?
That depends on where you go! Our friends and colleagues at the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter can microchip your dog for £10. No appointment is necessary, however, it's best to avoid arriving between 11.30am to 12.30pm. Nottingham City Stray Dogs also have dog microchipping events across the city council area where dogs are chipped for a donation, check their facebook page for details. Of course, your vet will also microchip for you and some may have special deals in the run up to the 6th April. Contact them for more info.
Will microchipping hurt my pet?
There is no denying your pet will feel something, as with any injection! However, the procedure literally takes seconds, some animals are chipped before they know anything is happening!
Why is microchipping so important? Isn't a collar and tag sufficient ID?
The short answer is no. The law, as it stands now, requires your dog to be wearing a collar and tag in public. However, these go missing or the animal escapes off your property whilst not wearing their collar. A microchip is permanent. Charities, local councils and vets all have scanners to check stray animals who come into their care. Being chipped means the animal has a much higher chance of being reunited with their registered keeper. Without a chip, it is very difficult to trace who the animal belongs to. Also, as Bella and Clive's stories show, animals can travel (sometimes through theft) and get miles from home. They can also be close to where they live but have become disorientated and genuinely lost. A microchip means information which in turn means a pet going home sooner rather than later.
We are behind compulsory microchipping and here is why...
Nothing makes our day more than our microchip scanner bleeping when scanning a stray animal. Our hearts skip knowing that we have a very good chance of getting the pet back to their home. Although the microchipping of all dogs becoming law is not an infallible system, it does mean there will be more dogs going back to their registered keepers. It also means, people will be held responsible for a dog they are registered to. It is extremely important you keep your database details up to date, especially if you no longer care for a dog. There is a charge to change the details but without updating information, that animal will be registered to the person who is currently on file as their keeper. The microchip number doesn't change...just the registration details.
You can read more FAQs at the Petlog website.
13th Jan 2016
Odd weather we are having...
We are experiencing a very odd climate at the moment. It's far too mild for 'winter' with bulbs growing, flowers blossoming and lots and lots of rain. So, how is this affecting our wildlife? Well, some will be finding it advantageous with lots of food supplies available that are not normally there...it has been reported that grey squirrels have been getting fatter due to the mild weather and consequent glut of food! However, our bees, who had already suffered over the summer with it being wet, are not coping with the unusual weather. It changes the way huddle for warmth and they can go out foraging and end up in trouble if they are caught in heavy rain.
It seems we need a cold spell for some creatures; but that in itself could cause problems for animals tricked into thinking Spring has already come or that Autumn hasn't finished. Hedgehogs, who haven't hibernated because it's been warm, could suddenly find they haven't enough food or fat reserves to keep them going when temperatures drop.
If you find a prickly pal who is not injured contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice. For any injured wildlife, please either ring 0300 1234 999 or contact your local wildlife centre
There is lots more advice for when/if it does get cold here
Also, for general seasonal advice enquiries of a non urgent nature, you can email via MyRSPCA
Let's hope this is just a blip in the climate and that the seasons will get back to how they should be so that us and more importantly animals and nature can return to 'normal'.
14th Dec 2015
We always know Christmas is around the corner when it's time to do our annual Pet Food Appeal We''ve run this appeal for decades, it's an institution in it's own right and without it, we would struggle to feed the animals cared for at the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter and those we look after at Nottingham and Notts. It's a simple thing to contribute but it's one that makes a huge difference. However, another way to make a difference is to adopt. Now, obviously we all know giving pets as presents is never a good idea. The surprise element may be exciting but taking on a new member of the family takes forward planning...and by the very nature of surprise this means there is no planning at all. That said, if you are having a QUIET Christmas, it can be a potentially good time to adopt. There are things you need to take into consideration though, new kittens and cats will see the Christmas tree as a moggie play station! New dogs and puppies may decide to investigate presents that are not meant for them! Rabbits and guinea pigs will chew! In short, yes you may be at home but the planning of taking on an animal at Christmas needs special consideration.
Vets opening hours will be different, have you thought about what will happen should you need to seek veterinary assistance over the holiday? Out of hours charges are expensive. Dogs will still need walks whether it's snowing, raining or you have over indulged with the Christmas fayre! Having a new pet around this time means annual vaccinations will coincide with Christmas expense yearly, again, something you need to consider. All pets need your time, love and committment for all their life, be that a couple of years or into decades. You need to feel confident you can provide this for your chosen pet, be that a mouse, a budgie, a dog, a cat or a horse! Animals in our care over the festive period will get special attention but nothing would make their Christmas like a new beginning. Providing you are not having a hectic time and lots of visitors then why not give a rescue animal the best gift they could receive... a kind, loving place to call home.
13th Oct 2015
Black cat awareness...
You may have heard us mention this before, the fact that black cats and predominately black cats are often over looked for adoption in favour of their tabby, tortie or ginger cousins. Well, we think black cats are magic and should be celebrated for their sleek elegant looks and their personalities, after all, that's what REALLY counts!
However, just for fun, here are some reasons to adopt a black cat:
10. Holding a black cat makes you look slimmer!
9. Black cats never look dirty!
8. Black is always in fashion and goes with everything!
7. Black cats are like feline ninjas, therefore cool.
6. Black fur absorbs more heat - 'purrfect' for cuddling on a cold winter day.
5. Black cats are hide and seek champions!
4. BLack cats are lucky...you adopting one proves that!
3. They are always appropriately dressed for formal occassions!
2. You would have a little panther in your life....what's not to love about that?
And finally, most importantly...
1. Black cats are least likely to be adopted...
Our friends and colleagues at RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter have lots of cats looking for their luck to change. You can view some of them here or email for more info.
28th Sep 2015
The Lady Grey
What this branch of the RSPCA actually does, seeing as we don't have animals on premises, has been the subject of previous blogs. However, it seems worth reiterating that although our work is not 'public facing', what we do is essential in making sure vulnerable animals who come into our care, get exactly what they need.
One such animal is Lady Grey. It is not very often we have pedigree cats, or cross pedigrees as in Ladys case, who need help, but this blue eyed girl found herself at a vets in Nottingham with an injury to her neck. She had no collar, isn't microchipped so the vets rang here asking if we would fund treatment for her. This was over a month ago. Despite advertising and checking with lots of vets...Lady Grey was never reclaimed.
The RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter have been through the seasonal lull in adoptions so, we paid for Lady to be boarded. This means, that although animals like her are not available to view for adoption, they are housed and happy until the Radcliffe Shelter has space. Of course, should someone ring with a description of a missing animal that fits one in our care we arrange for them to view. Happily, we do get some reclaims but it reamains that the majority of animals we take in never go back to their original home.
Today, Lady was due her 2nd inoculation (all cats are given an initial vaccination course, if well enough on arrival) and well, she isn't coming back to boarding as Leanne, the vet nurse at the practice, has fallen for her! After several weeks recuperating Lady Grey now has a home. She will be Id chipped, spay checked and spayed if found to be entire and most important of all, be in a loving home again.
The donations we receive and money fundraising generates allows us to house animals, rehabilitate them, give them the veterinary help they need and look after them until an adoption space is free. Without the generosity of the people of Nottingham, we couldn't continue. If you would like to donate to help us with our work with local animals, you can do so securely online. Thank you
19th Aug 2015
You all know how important we here at the Nottingham and Notts branch feel Id chipping is. Well, we wanted to share this fantastic story with you with the kind permission of Julie Gretton who recently found a black cat and contacted us for advice.
'Tabitha is all black and was adopted by the owners from yourselves along with her twin brother. I understand that she ran off from home when the new owners moved into their new house in Arnold which actually is about a ten minute walk from our house. Apparently this was around May time but she only came to our attention around end June. I initially put her details on your found website and put up posters in the immediate vicinity of our house. It was suggested she be taken to vet for them to check for chip. I contacted our local vet on Coppice road and after borrowing cat carrier from neighbour took her to be checked at the Saturday surgery! To my thrill she had been chipped and vet contacted owner who then contacted us. Timing was a bit off because they were going on holiday for a week from the Sunday and therefore it was decided that as she had a routine with us we would 'cat sit' her for the extra week! She was re-united with her family as soon as they returned and needless to say they were thrilled. I was equally happy that we had managed to return her to where she belonged! Microchipping is an excellent back up for both the animal and the owner.'
Little Tabitha was returned home thanks to her chip! Collars can come off but a microchip means should your pet stray (it can and has happened to the most diligent of owners) they can be re-united sooner rather than later. Without people like Julie caring, taking a bit of time out of their day to act on advice, fewer animals would go home, so many thanks Julie!
From April 6th 2016 it will be a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped in England.
6th July 2015
Cash for kittens, pounds for puppies...yet rescues are full to bursting!
We have to say we were saddened to read an article in Grazia UK magazine about earning extra cash by breeding your pets. The lady interviewed states that breeding gives her 'a little extra pocket money' when the reality is rescue centres up and down the country are full to bursting with unwanted pets. We have mentioned before in previous blogs, animals are becoming victim to the 'throw away' society we live in. In fact, RSPCA research has shown 1 in 5 puppy buyers no longer have their puppy 3 years after purchase. Animals need committment, they need time, love and money spent on them to remain happy and healthy. However, it's not uncommon to see them treated like old toys, discarded, forgotten and sometimes even broken. We want people to think long and hard about what exactly they are taking on when they decide to have a pet. It's far to easy to buy and sell animals for profit and some unscrupulous people have no concern for welfare, seeing £ signs rather than love in the eyes of those they sell. Join us in calling on Westminster to overhaul breeding and sale laws by signing our petition
Help us get with by spreading the word that we help anyone in our area with neutering There are already too many animals without homes. We and other rescues continually battle with this never ending situation and end up dealing with the fallout of people who see animals as disposable commodities instead of irreplacable treasures.
12th June 2015
Car, van, conservatory...potential ovens in warm weather.
There are certain animal welfare messages which, although seemingly ingrained in the Great British publics psyche, are either temporarily forgotten or blatantly ignored at animal’s expense. One of slogans is “never leave a dog in a hot car”. The thing is...the car doesn’t have to be hot and the animal doesn’t have to be a dog. Most creatures will suffer if left in a car, even on a cloudy day and it seems common sense goes out of the window, unlike the pets who are incarcerated in what soon becomes an oven.
There are very gruesome statistics about what exactly happens physiologically to an animal subjected to heat. Unlike us, they can’t cool down through sweating and pant when hot. If the place they are in is hot, they simply can’t pant enough. Leaving a window open, sun shielding the windscreen and leaving water in the car isn’t sufficient. When the temperature outside is 22 C (72 F) the temperature inside a car can soar to 47 C (117F) and higher within an hour.
A few years ago whilst Admin was on holiday in Cornwall, the life guards put a message out giving a car registration saying “You have left your dog in your car, please report to us immediately”. The beach was full and there was no response. A little later, the message came over again saying the police and the RSPCA were in attendance and that the car window had been smashed, the dog was now free and being given first aid. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. However, it was only then that an irate man stomped up the beach with family in tow, swearing and cursing. It took him to hear his car had been damaged to get up and declare ownership...his car worth more than the dog.
The family were booed as they took their walk of shame. The dog had been left “in shade, windows down with water” at 9am, an hour or so later, the sun had moved, the car going from a relatively cool temp to an oven. Why had the dog been left? Because he barked, and therefore caused a nuisance on the beach!? Admin heard all this first hand because she reported them!
If you see an animal in distress in a car/caravan/conservatory, please ring the Police on 999 and the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
It’s simple really, if you are going somewhere and can’t take your pet with you…leave them at home where they will be cool, safe and sound, not in the car to suffer for your convenience.
18th May 2015
Body talk...understanding what your dog may be telling you.
Most people know that a dog wagging its tail can usually be interperated as a sign that they are feeling socialable. However, if their tail is wagging and is accompanied with dilated pupils, muscle tension and ears pinned forward or back then it's a sign to back off. The trouble is, there is a science to dog behaviour and it's a subject that can't be covered in a blog, but we can highlight some points to help people interept what our canine chums are trying to say.
Some research has suggested that tail wagging to the right is usually a happy, confident wag, to the left is when a dog is more anxious, even frightened. A dog wagging their tail is akin to us smiling, we sometimes smile without thinking about it, sometimes it just happens. Aside from their tails, dogs use facial expressions, their ears and eyes to indicate their mood. The below info graphic illustrates some of the basic signs you can look for.
Children are most likely to be bitten out of any age group. This is because by nature children are inquisitive, like to cuddle, share and love. However, dogs may not be so tolerant and may not like to be hugged, have their food tampered with whilst eating or simply not in the mood for playing. It is up to adults to make themsleves aware and teach children the signs to look for and respect they need to show dogs. Click here for a link to another info graphic. RSPCA national society has lots of information of how care for and keep you and your dog happy, there's even advice on what you should think about BEFORE adopting. For more info, click here
13th May 2015
It shouldn't be a surprise really, it happens every year, animals being dumped. Perhaps surprise is the wrong word, it's more disppointment, a perennial collective sigh from those who work in rescue. What is so frustrating is the disregard for the animals safety. We understand that peoples circumstances change. However, the ownership of an animal does not end because circumstances change. Until a rescue can house a pet, they are their owners responsibility and they remain reliant on their owner until rehoused. You cannot simply relinquish that duty.
It makes us shudder that someone can physically box up kittens/ other small pets or take their dog out somewhere, set the box down or tie the lead, turn and walk away! Anything could happen. They are defenceless. Even, like in the case of the pictured kittens, when they are found by members of the public, the rescue has nothing to go on but guess work. This is even more poignant with older animals as we sometimes don't know their name never mind how old they are, what they like, any problems they have.
We would help anyone who genuinely was struggling to feed their pet until a rescue has space. We have done many times before. What we and others can't do is perpetually take in animal after animal as space is finite. We are often critised for not doing enough. However, a lot of the cases our Inspectors deal with are in care for months, sometimes years and cannot be rehomed until the courts have decided the outcome. Inspectors case animals are amongst the most vulnerable and will always be a priority, meaning pets in homes have to come second and remain the responsibility of their owners. It would be a dream to never have to say no,to place every single animal in the home they deserve. Until this is more of a possibility, we will endeavour to do as much as we can with the resources available.
To end, the kittens above (there were 4 although only 3 are in this photo) were looked after over night by a local vet. We asked them to check the kits were eating as they were only 4-5 weeks old at the eldest. Where Mum was/is is a mystery. Perhaps she ran off due to it being an alien environment she'd been dumped in? Other cats will have to wait a little longer as these kittens take a pen up for the next month or so. These, at least, are safe and in the best possible hands with our friends and colleagues at RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter.
20th April 2015
Admin may be in the wrong line of work for someone who dislikes parasites as intensely as I do. Along with lovely feathered and furry critters come horrid, jumpy, bitely simply yucky bugs! Ask any of my colleagues my reaction to parasites and you'll get the same answer, they literally make my skin crawl.
There are several common pests that animals can be host to including fleas, ticks, worms, lice and mites. Some suck blood, some leech nutrients internally and most cause incessant itching...making whoever is giving them a ride uncomfortable at best and threatening their life at worst.
One particular horrid little beastie is the Pigeon louse (Google them) which is found on a lot of wild birds. These things look like flattened house flies, creep like spiders but can fly in (anyone who's had the displeasure of meeting one will agree) a drunken, dithering way! They are just AWFUL! I have been frozen, stock still on several occasions before locating the tiny stealth bomber louse on a wall and legging it to get someone MUCH braver than me to give it what for!
As humans, we can obviously do something about parasites but our pets rely completely on us identifying when they have a problem and, in turn, sorting that problem out. The absolute misery parasites can cause is completely unnecessary. Any vets, and some chemists, can provide good, effective ways to treat your pets and PREVENT parasitic predicaments, before they happen. I have seen kittens anaemic through flea infestations, cats paralysed from tick bites, rabbits critically ill with flystrike (maggots) and dogs completely bald with mange mites.
I flip out seeing a flea, so I can't imagine what it must be like to have them crawling over you and not being able to do anything about it! The infographic above shows just how quickly fleas can become a problem. You are priviledged if you have a comapnion pet and it's your responsibility to make sure they are kept up to date with regular parasite prevention as they can't do it themselves. For more advice to stop the spring itch, contact your vet and arm your self against unwanted invaders! Let's have those little blood suckers quaking in their bitey boots!
14th April 2015
Spring news from branch
We have quite a lot packed into the spring newsletter. We are also trying to reduce the cost of postage by emailing as many people as possible. If you currently get the bi-annual newsletter by post and wish to change to receive it electronically then please send an email to Donna. We will send future communications through the magic of the internet!
In the meantime, our current newsletter can be read by clicking here.
9th April 2015
What do you do if you find a baby bird?
Admin has worked for Branch for a looooooong time, nearly 2 decades which is a very scary fact to see written in black and white! Going back into the mid 90's (when we held animals on site here at Hyson Green), at this time of year we used to be inundated with young birds. Well meaning people would bring in what they assumed were either injured or orphaned fledglings. More often than not the little bundles of feathers were neither. This was the case of 'Doddie' the collared dove. The following story, which was written for the Nottingham Post, explains the difficulties (not to mention the heartache) of trying to hand rear a young bird.
‘What is that?’ said my long suffering other half.
‘It’s a Collared Dove’ I enthusiastically lifted the cat basket with the forlorn little bird inside. This was ‘Doddie’, named after George ‘Doddie’ Weir the Rugby Union Player who played for Scotland in the 90’s.
I thought, some would say foolishly, that by naming my feathered pal after a big, strapping fella, he would be imbued with some of Mr Weir’s strength. Oh how wrong could I be?
‘Doddie’ the Dove was a fledgling. His parents had been around him when he was found but, like a lot of people, the finders saw a tiny creature in a big bad world and instinct is to pick up and remove. That’s when he came into our care and that’s when he ended up coming home with me.
‘He doesn’t look too good’ said the other half
‘No, he doesn’t’ I agreed but he drank and he ate - and his wings, feet and legs seemed sound but something ‘wasn’t right’. ‘Doddie’ was tucked up in his artificial nest, in a darkened room and I said ‘Na night’ to the little chap.
I shook Keith awake. A very sleepy and bewildered partner opened his eyes to see me stood in my jammies sobbing with a deceased Doddie Dove in my hands. Despite all my attentiveness, despite trying to do best by, despite making what looked like a comfy, warm, secure place to be ~ he died. The reason? I think it was because he was completely out of his natural environment. Everything must have been so alien to him from human hands to voices to baskets. And, that’s the point; Doddie stood a better chance, even if there were predators, even if he looked lost, even if it was raining by being left in HIS environment with his parents. A lot of fledglings live for days on the ground after 1st attempts to ‘fledge’ fail. This doesn’t mean they are injured or that intervention is needed. It’s simply a young, fully feathered bird finding his ‘wings’ so to speak. Our advice is to observe ~ from a distance and monitor for at least 2 hours and you will almost certainly find that the parents are taking care of their youngster.
No-one can care for a young bird better than their parents.
So, if you find a ‘Doddie’ or any other young bird, you can find lots of useful information HERE on distinguishing a fledgling from a nestling and you may find this INFO GRAPHIC helpful.
17th Mar 2015
Little steps to big changes...
It's not very often we are nervous here at branch. However, we have some major news so, *deep breath* here goes - THERE WILL BE NO DOG WALK THIS YEAR!
Phew! there, it's out, we've said it, now we can relax! Believe us when we say we have had a lot of sleepless nights thinking about Dog Walk and the fact that over previous years our total has fallen. More to the point, there have been consistently less 'sponsored walkers' annually and after 2014's event, we knew we had to have a rethink. Instead of one event, we will be having two. One still dog focused, the other involving ALL animals, which after all, is what the RSPCA is all about. The venues are different too, one costing branch nothing, the other literally a fraction of what we have been paying for Wollaton Park. So, yes...it's a BIG change, but we hope after reading this, you will agree a necessary one.
We would like to explain why we decided to hang up Dog Walk's lead after 43 years. The event started as a 'sponsored walk'. The sponsored walkers have been in decline, 2014 seeing only 38 register and monies received from 29. The focus of the day had become the 'fun dog show' but sadly the 'fun' element was now lacking. Members of the public were turning up in breed specific groups. The pedigree class was by far the most entered, resulting in the rings beng split to accommodate everyone. Now, we are sure you are aware, the RSPCA are trying to highlight the health problems certain pedigree dogs face through being bred to 'breed standards'. We are also trying to stop the back street breeding that goes on and are against the importing of animals from continental puppy farms...there are enough unscrupulous breeders in the UK. The legislation and regulations we have to adhere to now are complicated, expensive and to be fair, downright frustrating. Laws on docking, health concerns of certain breeds and the importation of animals as mentioned already, have made the running of the show a logistical nightmare. Docking is legal is some countries and there are exemptions here but proof is often unobtainable and remember, this was supposed a 'fun' dog show! Dog Walk has basically outgrown its initial reason for existing, to raise money for local animals by walking and sponsorship.
After last year we knew we had to make some changes. These haven't been taken lightly, staff here at branch are well aware of the attraction, history and above all, huge success of Dog Walk. Wollaton Park is without a doubt one of the most stunning sites for any event, locally or nationally. However, a top end site commands top end prices. The hire of the park, the marquees, the large second van, the PA system, tables and chairs and other overheads associated with being at that spot comes out at over £3000. There are other reasons Wollaton Park couldn't be used for one of the events which we will explain further in another blog and we are of course saddened to be leaving the splendour of the park behind.
As a forward thinking branch, we have to move with the times and look at ways we can improve fundraising which in turn, will help more animals.
With all that in mind, we ask you to please save these dates:
Saturday 20th June 2015
Sunday 20th September 2015
We will be back very soon with a lot more info! Ohhhhhh the intrigue!
3rd Mar 2015
What the Inspector saw...
It's not uncommon for criticism to be fired the RSPCA's way. That's the RSPCA in general but, specifically the Inspectorate and uniformed part of the society. As someone who has worked for this branch for nearly 20 years I have seen some awful sights. Animals subjected to abject cruelty, others victims of ignorance. However, this was never a daily part of my job. I was seldom the one who discovered distressed animals. This is the Inspectors remitt and I can honestly say, I wouldn't want their job for all the tea in China!
Inspectors are obviously dealing with animals but also, their job is about people. With people come opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs. However, I feel blame and outright rage is often laid at an Inspectors feet, really through no fault of their own. Recently, I was at a local animal welfare group meeting. There, myself and others listened to a Deputy Chief Inspector talk about some of the cases local Inspectors had dealt with in our area. I am quite seasoned regarding the diabolic conditions Inspectors case animals find themselves in. However, I have to admit I had a lump in my throat whilst listening. The Inspector spoke of a case that involved two seasoned colleagues who investigated a routine complaint. They arrived at the property and what they found was truly horrific. They discovered a shed and when the door was opened were faced with umpteen cat baskets containing dead cats. Their carer had shut them in, shut the door and walked away. The cats died from thirst and hunger with no way of escaping.
That's the point of this blog. Situations Inspectors face daily are just awful. They work for a charity funded by the public, not a government department or an emergency service. It can be argued the RSPCA has put across this image, albeit unintentionally, by courting TV programmers who want to follow the Inspectorate at work. However, in reality, whether there is a film crew there or not, when an Inspector knocks on a door they have no idea what they will find. They must work within the law and if no law is broken, frustratingly they may have to walk away from what are far from ideal conditions. Resources are limited and demand for their attendance is HUGE. The RSPCA has just over 330 inspectors covering the whole of England and Wales. This roughly equates to one inspector for every 110,000 people. In comparison, according to gov.uk there are over 129,000 police officers for the same area.
As I said above, I wouldn't want their position for all the tea in China but I am glad there are those who do the job for the sake of the thousands of animals they rescue each year.
For more info click here
17th Feb 2015
World Spay day is coming...it's not just cats, but they are a good place to start!
In January 2012, the Nottingham Post contacted me about writing a piece for their charity column. I wrote about how we had taken in kittens here at Hyson Green (despite having no animal holding facilities) that had been dumped. The article voiced my difficulty in comprehending what would drive someone to physically take an animal, put it in a box and leave it alone, bewildered and most often terrified. I simply don’t understand it. Move on 3 years and depressingly, things are no better - in fact, we are experiencing a perpetual cat crisis in Nottingham city. You’ll find most rescues are saying the same thing; too many cats and not enough homes.
The problem is cats are VERY good at breeding. Females are in and out of season until they are either pregnant or spayed. There used to be a ‘kitten season’ where between March and October you would see most kittens born. However, in the last few years, this has stretched to being almost continual with only a slight drop over winter months.
A queen (female) can have 3 litters a year, with on average 4 kittens in each. That’s 12 kittens all needing homes, all needing veterinary treatment, all needing someone to take care for them, not just feeding and loving them. 1 female cat can, over 5 years, be responsible for 10’s of thousands of descendants. That fact makes me wince. This Branch and the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Shelter always have cats in care, some who can’t be adopted until they are over illness, operations or are still part of Inspectors cases. When we are full; we are not just saying it. So, when people who don’t bother with spaying or neutering then find themselves in a predicament of not being able to rehome kittens they turn to rescues who are all struggling and juggling! A routine operation helps against injury through territorial fighting/mating, vets bills and crucially, adding to the booming feline population.
What is the answer? It’s simple, neuter or spay your cat. If you choose to have a pet cat, then it’s the responsible thing to do. The good news is, we can help anyone who lives in our Branch area with the cost. Just visit our neutering page or tel: 0115 9784965. Remember, it takes 2 and we help with the cost of both male and female!
We will also help with the cost of neutering ANY PET, not just cats.
5th Feb 2015
Our shop...the 'Harrods' of Hyson Green
Charity shops, what do they mean to you? Do you avoid them, are there too many in your opinion or are you a charity shop champion? Well, to us, ours is a lifeline! Without the revenue our shop generates we wouldn't be able to help as many animals as we do. Retail Manager Hellen with shop assistants Leigh and Karen and plethora of wonderful volunteers keep the 'Harrods' of Hyson Green stocked with everything from jewellery to bed side cabinets! The saying 'one man's trash is an another man's treasure' really does apply to us. The donations we are gifted are fantastic, without them the shop would be empty. However, we are lucky and have people who regularly give their unwanted items and can rely on them when 'off the street' donations slow down. We do have a limited amount of storage space though. Also, there are certain things we can't sell like children's safety equipment, videos or fur (no matter if it's vintage) So, sometimes unfortunately, we do have to say no. Most of the time, we are very grateful someone has taken the time to sort out a donation. We can even collect (when animal work allows) and deliver, Branch Transport Co-ordinator Shelley usually doing the honours!
The shop always tries to be fair with prices on items for sale. We're reasonable but after all, we are a charity and are trying to raise as much money as possible. One bin liner of good quality, undamaged clothing could be worth £25 to us...that would cover the cost of a consultation for an injured animal. Two bags would pay for painkillers and antibiotics and with three we could board a dog for a week. So you see how essential our shop is.
If you are having a clear out, are redecorating or have any unwanted items that someone else may want...we'd LOVE to hear from you.
Here's a list of what we find sells best. However, storage allowing, we will appreciate any donations.
Good quality clothing, shoes and bags
Small items of furniture
DVDs and CDs
Unwanted gifts (for raffle prizes)
You can contact Hellen on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0115 9784965 and present the option for the shop (Mon-Fri)
20th Jan 2015
We all know the great British weather is a law unto itself, in fact we would go so far as to say that's one of things that distinguish us to other nations...our obsession with the climate! So, the forecast may be unpredicatble but we don't need to be Mystic Meg or have a crystal ball to know that in January the weather will get cold. However, every winter we still get calls about animals whose owners have not made provision for a plummet in temperature. Alarmingly, some even think it is OK for their pets to live out in the cold with no change in how they are housed. If you care for a pet, especially those who live outside, you need to make sure you can provide all they require to keep them safe and warm against the elements.
Rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs who are kept in hutches may need to be brought indoors or at least into a garage/outhouse and need lots of extra bedding to snuggle down in. Their accomdation should be draught free and dry. Horses and ponies (depending on breed as some are naturally hardier than others) should have access to shelter, bedding and some will need a rug (especially veterans). Mountain and moorland breeds can cope in rougher weather but all equines should have plenty fresh water and lots of hay and supplementary food too if needed.
Pets and livestock are reliant on those who care for them to tend to all their welfare needs. Of course, they don't need luxury but they do need seasonal adjustments to basic husbandry. Any animal who lives outside will find the colder weather a trial and it's up to us to make sure they are warm and comfortable, we took on the responsibility and have a duty of care. We wouldn't go outdoors without a coat and boots...so why expect animals to not feel the cold too?
If you see an animal you think is suffering due to colder weather, please either telephone 0300 1234 999 or if it's not urgent you can email via MyRSPCA
16th Jan 2015
What is our purpose?
We were thinking about writing a blog post about what the RSPCA is all about. However, our friend and colleague, Leanne Manchester (Communication and volunteer manager at RSPCA Derby), beat us to it! So, with her kind permission we are posting a modified version of her blog as we couldn't have said it better ourselves!
There may be some of you reading this post who are already long-term supporters of our Branch and know a lot about what we do and why we exist. However, I'm sure there are some of you who don't really know exactly what it is we do, and why we're here.
The RSPCA is a charity, and as such receives no funding from the government, instead relying on support and donations to exist. It is such an iconic brand, with 98% brand recognition, meaning that 98% of people recognise the RSPCA logo when they see it. However, the RSPCA means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
The words RSPCA stand for ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’. These words have gotten a little lost over the years as the RSPCA has become associated with every problem related to animals. Unfortunately we just do not have the resources to solve every issue. Where possible we will help, however our prime function is to support the Inspectorate and help to protect animals who are being cruelly treated. Animals like the 2 kittens pictured above, Willow and Blackberry who were dumped in a sealed box in the height of summer. These two little mogs story illustrates the reality we deal with on a daily basis, and these animals have to be our priority.
What's the difference between us and the National RSPCA?
There are two sides to the RSPCA. The first is National RSPCA who run the National Call Centre, employ Inspectors and run some of the large animal and wildlife hospitals, as well as promoting nationwide responsible pet ownership. The Inspectorate predominantly answer calls related to potential animal cruelty. They rescue animals from dire situations and that’s where we come in. Animal Collection Officers respond to calls relating to injured wildlife, stray/trapped animals and similar. Have a look here for more information on the work that National RSPCA do.
The Branches are the second side to the RSPCA. We are all independently-run charities and we raise the money required to remain open ourselves. We rehabilitate and rehome those animals rescued by the Inspectorate, sometimes from horrific abuse and cruelty, to give them a second chance at a happy home. We also assist the local Inspectorate by transporting animals from vets. We don't employ the Inspectorate ourselves, therefore we cannot take calls about the welfare of animals.
What are our limitations?
We only have space for a limited number of animals - we have no animal home of our own and rely on our friends at RSPCA Radcliffe Animal home for space, private boarding, volunteers and the good will of many vets. Our branch area covers all of Nottingham city part of county of Nottinghamshire (which we share with Notts West and Notts East branches). It’s a very heavily populated area and this means that sadly we aren’t able to help everybody who comes to us privately to ask us to rehome their animals, as Inspector animals have to be our priority.
Our Branch does not have an on site vet and we pay for the treatment of injured animals at several local veterinary surgeries without whose dedication and help we simply couldn't function. We do offer low cost neutering help to ANYONE who lives in our area as we feel it is one of easiest and most practical ways to curb the animal population which is already at crisis levels.
Promoting responsible pet ownership
Alongside our fundraising, neutering and transport co-ordinating, we also work within the local community to promote responsible pet ownership.
We always urge everybody to think carefully before taking on an animal as they are a big commitment. We have genuine cases of owners calling us who really need to rehome their animals, for reasons out of their control. But for every call like that, we receive many more from owners who didn’t really think about the long-term commitment required when they took on their animal. We want people to take responsibility themselves rather than assuming that we will be here to take their animal if they do have a problem, as sadly quite often we just aren’t able to be.
If you have any question, please call us on 0115 9784965 or email email@example.com and we will happily answer.