Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Day of the Iguanas: News Round-Up - Summer 2017 Issue 6


June's heatwave saw animal rehoming grind to a halt for over a week. Seemingly the idea of having to keep windows and doors shut to prevent newly adopted cats and kittens from escaping was too much, and who could disagree! Whilst our rehoming figures for June were lower than normal we still had many new admissions and some surprising ones at that!

At the height of the stifling heat it seems that some reptiles in Manchester also got the chance to bask in the natural warmth and UV on offer, or so it seemed. On the Monday a tortoise found themselves in an industrial park in Salford, whilst a frantic member of the public in South Manchester lost their juvenile tortoise following a potter in the garden. Two missing tortoises in one day is pretty remarkable and we had high hopes that they were one and the same, but alas were not. The next day brought us a very tame corn snake that had been found slithering in a suburban street (not quite as uncommon as you'd think!). But the following day brought us a double surprise, albeit double edged.

The Day of the Iguanas

A call from a National RSPCA inspector came in. She had a job come through to collect a stray Iguana with a lump on the side of his face. Not sounding good we made immediate plans to meet with inspector and make provision for him to be seen by an exotic vet specialist. This was quite an exciting time for us as we generally only help with snakes, geckos and bearded dragons so imagine our surprise when the same inspector got another a call to collect another iguana, this time at the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital in Salford.

Both Iguanas were from different parts of the county, so seemingly unrelated, but the inspector needed our help with them both. By now it was early evening and so we accompanied her to a specialist exotic vets out of hours. Upon immediate sight of the first iguana it was clear that it was no coincidence that he had found himself homeless. His enormous facial swelling was preventing him from eating and he was emaciated, with no fat reserved left on him. The likely diagnosis was one of 3 things: an abscess, tumour or osteomyelitis, any one of which was going to be causing him considerable pain and unlikely to be successfully treated. The vet advised that euthanasia was the kindest option and seeing him in the flesh, in such obvious distress, we couldn't help but think he had deliberately and cruelly abandoned.
The other iguana was in good health, albeit retaining some of his shed. He was quite a feisty chap but it wasn't until he got warmed up overnight that he revealed just how grumpy he was, although it has to be said that iguanas are notorious for this behaviour. So we had to board him at the specialist vets for week to give the owner a chance to come forward. Unsurprisingly no one claimed him so we transferred him to a specialist reptile facility for assessment and rehoming. 

What the owners of the iguanas fail to appreciate is that by abandoning their animals we have to pick up the pieces. We then have to find the money to pay for the veterinary treatment, boarding and transfer of the animals and this doesn't come cheap. For the two iguanas we spent over £300 taking care of their needs. This is £300 that we have to raise ourselves as we do not receive any government funding. One third of our money comes from our 4 charity shops, another third through legacies and the remaining from community fundraising, donations and grants. So you can see that your support truly helps us to save lives and, crucially, end suffering. You can make a single donation or sign up to a monthly direct debit here. Alternatively, just TEXT: MCRS01 £1/2/3/4/5 or £10 to 70070. Thank you on behalf of our animals of all shapes and sizes!

By Branch Manager, Susie Hughes

Glorious Giftaid hits our charity shops

You can make your donation to our shops worth even more to us by signing up for Gift Aid.

When you donate your clothes, books, bric-a-bac, furniture etc to our Didsbury, Northern Quarter and Chorlton shops you will now be asked to complete a Gift Aid form. If you are a UK taxpayer this will raise an extra 25p per £1  from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

So, if you donate that designer summer dress you wore to your Aunt’s wedding last year (because the photos are all over Facebook, so you couldn’t possibly wear it again) and we sell it for £18 to Barbara who is going to take it on holiday to Tenerife, the tax man will give us an extra £4.50 to help the animals. That £4.50 would pay for a microchip for one of our animals, and it hasn’t cost anyone anything!

The form only takes a couple of seconds to complete and everyone’s a winner (especially Barbara, who seems to have caught the eye of one of the waiters at her resort)!

 Curry & Quiz night - last remaining tickets!

We will be hosting our first Curry & Quiz night on the 20th August in South Manchester! Join us from 6pm for a delicious range of vegan curies, rice and chapattis with unlimited soft drinks. You can BYOB if you wish but make sure you bring your giant brains ready for the general knowledge quiz! Children welcome! To book your place call us on 0161 882 0680 option 4 or email rspcamcr_salford@btconnect.com. We only have a few spots left so be quick and help us make this night a success for our animals.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

News Round-Up: Spring 2017 Issue 5

9 years of Rabbit Rehoming 

We did it folks, we made it through another grey and rainy Manchester winter and whilst our charity shops busily swap the heavy coats and woolly scarves for bright, cotton t-shirts we are preparing to celebrate our 9th year rehabilitating and rehoming rabbits! Watch our video in celebration of all things bunny-shaped!

Rabbits are our favourite hairy herbivores and most of you will know that at this branch we take rabbit welfare very seriously.

Alice & Bea were left to starve
A hutch is not nearly enough for these energetic and intelligent creatures and companionship with their own kind is often vital. Despite spending the past 9 years educating adopters in the North West on the merits of good rabbit welfare we are still inundated with the little critters. I’ve lost track of the amount of times Susie, the charity's manager, has promised not to admit another bunny until our numbers drop and then cave in as an Inspector shows her a photo of a large breed bunny in a tiny hutch with nothing but bread for food. But that’s why we are here after all, to help those who have not experienced a good start in life.  You can help us help more rabbits in need by texting BUNS09 £1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or £10 to 70070 today!

Recent fav! Pocket-rocket Bruce Lee

Thankfully the never ending calls from inspectors to admit animals have been offset by our remarkable rehoming figures for this quarter. We have already found forever homes for 129 animals in 2017 which is unheard of as January, February and March are normally the quiet time when we gather together our aims and ideas for the year ahead, but no such luck. Last year I selfishly despaired when we failed to hit the 500 mark when really, for such a small branch without its own animal centre, 498 animals rehomed is well worth celebrating (I could have fit another 2 in somewhere at home, I’m sure!) but it looks like we are well on target this year to achieve another record breaking year. 

So far the main themes running through the year have been special case animals and large scale rabbit rescues. The main star of our blog has been Sausage, a young cat found with a nasty infection and broken tail. On closer examination she was found to have a metal plate in her pelvis, so was obviously as well loved companion at some point. Without a traceable owner we ended up having to amputate her tail and find her a new home which I am very happy to say we did in March after 9 weeks rehabilitation. 

Sausage relaxing in foster care, her mysterious pelvis below!

Just this week alone we have been asked to help with three large scale rabbit rescues, ranging from 40 to 80 rabbits in each single property. It is massive undertaking which one branch cannot cope with alone so all the branches from the surrounding areas just have to take what they can. The upside of these cases is a constant stream of cuteness for us as there will always be one mummy bunny having just given birth; we have a litter in at the moment that are 4 weeks old who are just the perfect size for snuggling! 
Deb and Susie having cuddles in between health checks!

So as we enter Spring we have given up on the notion of ever having a quiet month to regroup and are just marching on instead with broken conversations as we pass each other in the vets and post-it notes stuck on keyboards, we’ll get the summer fundraising events organised eventually! For now keep an eye on our website for our blog updates and be sure to tell anyone considering getting a companion rabbit where to find us!

Talking shop

News from the shops from Didsbury shop manager Tom. 

Despite torrents of rain, gale-force winds and the odd dusting of snow, 2017 is off to a great start at all of the branch’s 4 shops thanks to the continued support of our customers and donors. I’m always moved to see brave, determined people fighting against the elements as they burst through the door with ‘bags for life’ full of goodies in their hands and we always make sure to give them a hero’s welcome. Good news is that Spring is here and the weather is finally getting warmer!

Sunny days are always the most profitable so it’s vital we make the most of every single one we get. If you’ve started your spring clear out, we’d be incredibly grateful for some more summery dresses, tops and t-shirts. They absolutely fly off the rails when the climate is right so we really never can have enough.

Kitten season is just around the corner now, so if you’re not able to donate items we are still in desperate need of pouches of wet kitten and cat food (Whiskas and Felix preferred). You are more than welcome to drop it into any of the shops for us to pass on, and of course you can always double your contribution by buying a few things while you’re here if you fancy treating yourself.


I can’t finish without telling you about a rare book that we had donated that is currently up for auction on Ebay. It is a rare limited edition book called Wyman Shoots Chagall by Bill Wyman. It is edition number 19 of 50 and includes a signed and numbered photo of the artist Chagall and his wife! The donor was aware of its potential value and has so generously given us this and many other amazing books to raise money for the animals.

The branch has 4 charity shops in Urmston, Didsbury, Chorlton and Northern Quarter and always need good quality donations of clothing, books, bric a brac and small items of furniture. See locations and opening hours here!

Run the Gauntlet!

Dare you join team RSPCA Manchester Animals on Saturday 16th September 2017 at Heaton Park and help raise money for the charity at the epic Gauntlet Games?

We know there are a number of you out there who enjoy adventure races and getting deep down and dirty in the process and what could be more exciting than taking on 15 obstacles and real life Gladiators on a 5 or 10k course? Gauntlet Games really is more about fun than finishing times and offers a unique team experience to enjoy whilst at the same time helping to save animals’ lives.

We are seeking 10 animal loving people with a competitive spirit and fundraising prowess to join team RSPCA Manchester Animals at the Games. Team members run for free if you raise a minimum of £125 in sponsorship money. So why not sign up with a friend and have double the fun and take double the satisfaction in having helped so many animals too!

To enquire further about the opportunity email Susie at rspcamcr_salford@btconnect.com. Hurry, places are filling fast for the event on Saturday 16th September.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Can you help our special boy, Franklin?

Let us introduce you to Franklin, a five year old tabby boy with a heart of gold. Franklin’s story is full of highs and lows and plenty of frustration, and is one that could have been completely avoided for the sake of around £1.50. Trigger warning: graphic images will follow....

Franklin in his 'cone of shame' after one of his several operations to fix his wound
Elasticated cat collars are dangerous and cats can easily get snagged, trapped, and end up with a front leg trapped inside them after trying to free themselves. This is exactly what happened to our boy Franklin. Safer snap-release collars are usually double the price at around £3 and cat owners will often choose the cheaper option without knowing the horrible risks involved.

Franklin came into our care three months ago with a terrible injury as a result of one of these lethal elasticated collars. Mostly likely, Franklin got his collar caught on something, then pawed at his collar to try and free himself and in the process got his leg stuck through it instead. The collar was then tightly lassoed around his neck and armpit and as time wore on the collar began to dig in to his skin and create a deep tear. Twelve weeks on and the wound looks as painful as ever and our vet bills are continuing to rocket.

At the vets, again! Thankfully, he enjoys the extra fusses!
Since he was discovered back in January with his collar embedded under his armpit Franklin has received five operations in an attempt to rejoin the skin and heal the gaping hole which has formed. He has undergone pioneering surgery involving a complicated skin graft, but as the skin in this area is so delicate, and cats aren’t the easiest animals to keep still even on cage rest (and in a head-cone) all attempts so far have failed. 

Thankfully Franklin’s wonderful nature and amazing resilience has kept us all going. There have been plenty of times when we’ve asked ourselves if we doing the right thing for Franklin, but each time his sweet little meow and soppy, loving face comes nuzzling next to ours and we are compelled to keep trying to save him.

Another attempt to re-stitch the wound was unsuccessful
After the final attempt at re-stitching the hole failed at the end of March we sombrely took him back to the vets. Not knowing if there was anything left to try we thought it might be time to give up for his sake but our excellent vet had one last suggestion: leg amputation. Amputating what seemed to be a fully-functioning limb was a big decision but as the vet explained, the limb had a long open wound on it that would likely never heal. So we booked him in for the op. It seemed quite drastic but if it would save Franklin’s life we were willing to give it a go.

The wound was continually opening up because there was very little skin to work with and Franklin was pulling on it every time he stretched out, went to the toilet or just stood up. By amputating the leg more skin would be available to close the wound and Franklin wouldn’t be able to put pressure on the wound as he’d have no leg to pull at the armpit.

The wound was in such a difficult place that each operation although seemingly successful would fail as the wound opened up again despite the amazing efforts of our vets.

Now we are just keeping everything crossed that the surgery goes well and our lad makes a speedy recovery. Not having to be on cage rest will be an absolute delight for Franklin as he loves snuggling up in bed with us. We are hoping that this will be Franklin’s final operation and then we can start working towards getting him ready for adoption.

By the time Franklin is 'fixed' his veterinary costs will have escalated to a total of £1,500. These are funds we simply do not have with such intense demand on our small, self-funded charity. We are desperately appealing for donations to cover the cost of his leg amputation and post-op care which amounts to roughly £500. We are asking all our followers to donate just £1.50 so we can carry on helping Franklin and many other animals like him. To donate, just click here!

Alternatively, you can text FRAN17 £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070

Thank you for your support from all the M&S Team and, of course, from Franklin.