SPECIAL REPORT: How the recession has impacted RSPCA's Block Fen Animal Shelter

THE economic downturn is having a crippling effect on many of the region s charities. The RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre in Wimblington is no exception and is suffering as much as any of them. Budget cuts and limited resources are the obvious consequences

THE economic downturn is having a crippling effect on many of the region's charities.

The RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre in Wimblington is no exception and is suffering as much as any of them.

Budget cuts and limited resources are the obvious consequences of the recession, but knock-on effects have led to a dramatic increase of unwanted animals and there are now too many for the centre to handle.

A waiting list of animals for the centre to take in has been scrapped because it is struggling to cope with the number of abandoned creatures that its inspectors bring in.


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Emma Smith, Block Fen reception supervisor, said: "There's been a massive increase of abandoned animals in the last 18 months.

"The most common reason is people moving into rented accommodation and are not allowed to take their pets with them. Some people say they just can't afford to look after their pets any more.

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"We are here to help when there are genuine cases but some people think that all they need to do is turn up on our door with an unwanted pet and we will take it away from them. That's simply not the case and we frequently have to turn animals away.

"Some people need to take more responsibility for their animals and not give up so easily."  Block Fen remains at the forefront of the campaign in Fenland to find homes for unwanted or dumped animals. Emma said: "Animals that are left abandoned in the freezing cold conditions will die if they are not found quickly. I cannot understand how anyone could do this and not have any regards for their animal's well-being." She added: "We often have collection buckets at supermarkets and these are very well supported by local people - we rely on this support. "We also have some very dedicated staff and volunteers. I suggest that anyone who is interested in taking in an animal should come and pay us a visit. We have a shop selling animal products on site and money spent here goes back into caring for unwanted animals. "We do home visits and give advice on what sort of animal would be suitable for each person. All animals get a full vet check before they are re-homed and they are neutered and vaccinated." 

FACTS AND FIGURES

• Block Fen has around 50 unwanted cats, 60 small animals, mainly rabbits and guinea pigs, and 30 dogs.

• The RSPCA received 118 calls about abandoned animals in the period from Christmas Eve to January 2 in the East region alone.

• On January 2 a cockerel and two puppies were found in a cardboard pet carrier outside the reception doors of the Block Fen centre.

• Two days later the centre took in two litters of abandoned kittens.

• Four kittens were found in a cardboard box next to the recycling centre at Morrison's supermarket in King's Lynn with a six-month old female cat who is not thought to be there mother.

• Three kittens were found in a plastic cat carrier in Outwell.

• For more information, telephone 0300 123 0726 or visit the RSPCA's rehoming website by clicking here

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