The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a charity known world wide for its work to end the inhumane treatment of all animals. It was founded in London in 1824 and has since grown into the charity we know and love today. The RSPCA has been very active in changing laws concerning animal welfare, and is made up of a number of different sections all working towards the same goal. However, not many people know that although these sections are part of the same charity and bear the same name, they all have very different functions and are all needed to ensure the good work we do continues.
There are hundreds of RSPCA rehoming centres across the UK, ranging from huge to tiny, that cater for a wide range of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, small animals, horses, donkeys and farm animals. Rehoming centres are usually individually funded branches that receive no money from the government and so rely on fundraising, donations and legacies to survive. Each branch has its own rules regarding rehoming processes etc, but they are all used to rehabilitate and rehome animals in need. Although centres liaise with one another, and sometimes work together on projects and events, most of them are not connected and have little to do with each other.
Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre takes in animals from various places, including people who can no longer care for their own pet and, most importantly, RSPCA Inspectors bringing in animals that have suffered a lot. During their time with us, animals receive medical treatment, behavioural training and assessments to ensure they are 100% ready to go their perfect new home. Some rehoming centres have Inspectors based at their site, but we do not. This means that we cannot do anything to help if people attempt to report cruelty to us and we refer them to the National RSPCA Helpline on 0300 1234 999. Also remember that we can offer advice when it comes to your own pets but we are not veterinary trained.
The National RSPCA Helpline is a call centre that deals with complaints on cruelty and problems with wildlife. There are a number of options to select from should you need to call them, and the telephone operators sort the calls and pass them on accordingly. After this they are sent out to RSPCA Inspectors out in the field to follow up and help where they can. Not all cases can be sorted immediately, and sometimes there is nothing they can do as Inspectors are bound by the law like everyone else.
RSPCA Inspectors are on the frontline helping to rescue abandoned, neglected and abused animals across the country. They are the people who deal with cruelty cases that are reported by members of the public, and it can be a very risky job as they come into contact with extremely dangerous situations. Inspectors do their best to help wherever they can, but sometimes there is quite simply nothing they can do - the law applies to Inspectors, and there are complicated rules regarding removing animals from people or properties. Many people don't understand this, and RSPCA Inspectors sometimes receive abuse for 'doing nothing' when they would genuinely love to but can't! Once an animal has been removed from a situation, the Inspectors take them to a vet for medical treatment, and once they are seen they can be taken to a rehoming centre for rehabilitaion. For extreme cases of cruelty and neglect, the owners may be charged and the process has to go through court if they refuse to relinquish the animal. This means that, although the animal has been placed in a rehoming centre, it cannot be rehomed until the case has been through court.
Animal Collection Officers
Animal Collection Officers pick up animals in cases that do not require an Inspector - this could be people that can no longer care for their pet and wish to rehome it, or stray animals that need veterinary treatment. They carry animals from the scene to the vet, and then from the vet to the rehoming centre where appropriate.
Charity shops are a means of raising vital funds for the RSPCA. People who work or volunteer in the charity shops are not given any training with animals, so they can only refer questions to the rehoming centre. We have some wonderfully dedicated volunteers who work very hard to help all of the animals in our care!
Please remember that staff working for the RSPCA do everything in their power to help animals in need, and still receive negative attention from members of the public. This is often because of a mix up in what they believe each part of the charity can do! We urge people to look to the right place for help, to speed up the process of helping animals and ensure that as much as possible can be done to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in need.