The RSPCA Can’t Help A Fox (and me)

RSPCA can't help me
Photo by zorilla
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The RSPCA – The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals – have been concerned with animal welfare since 1824. They are known throughout the world. For some idiotic and naive reason, I believed that they would come and help a severely injured wild animal if I phoned and asked for assistance. I believed that a major (or minor?) part of their work was to capture or recover sick animals and either treat them in one of their hospitals or put them sleep. The image I had was of a man in a blue suit and a van coming around and helping.

This is positively not the case. I have a fox who I feed because he is starving. He is starving because he can barely walk, never mind run or climb fences etc. His right fore-foot is very severely damaged and swollen. That leg is useless. His left fore-foot is also damaged but he has to use it. He hops along with great difficulty. He appears to be blind in his right eye, which appears to have been hit as it is very flat, probably punctured. He spends some nights in a covered cat litter tray outside my backdoor. I can touch him because he is so depressed he doesn’t care anymore.

Dying fox in pain
Dying fox in pain

As I find it very distressing to see this suffering. I have to do something. I want him to be humanely put put to sleep (PTS) for his sake. Or at least checked out and a decision made. Personally, I see little chance of recovery.

Am I doing this because I can’t stand watching him in pain?

Some more pictures:

Injured fox
Injured fox

I had planned to call my vet but decided to call the RSPCA instead. The receptionist, a man, was not that great, to be honest. I sensed he was irritated. Not good. Always use a middle-aged female for reception with a gentle character, please. Anyway, he said I might qualify for a fox trap and they would call me back.

While I was out they called back and left a voice mail. The lady said she couldn’t do anything as the injuries were too slight! I had to wait until the fox did not move at all when I approached him. In other words he had to be in the actual state of dying before they would come out and collect the fox to euthanise him.

I found this very disappointing and, frankly, almost pointless. Naively, I thought they helped injured animals to alleviate suffering. But no, it appears not. Have I got this wrong?

When you read their website you can see that they appear to have repositioned their objectives. They are now a political lobbying group. Essentially, they are a political organisation. There is nothing on their site that tells us that they help specific or individual animals in need.

This is not the first time I have been rebutted by the RSPCA. I called them years ago about an injured duck and nothing happened. We have an RSPCA hospital about a mile from where I live: Putney Animal Hospital. This is a well known animal hospital. Clearly that made no difference.

The reason is probably a question of funding. Perhaps donations have dried up because of the financial mess the country is in.

As a society we don’t care enough about animals. I have phoned my vet’s clinic, who are great, and they can’t help either. Do we just let wild animals die in pain even if we know about it? The answer is; yes. Should we care? Why do I care?

Has anyone had any experiences with the RSPCA?

Associated post: RSPCA Stole My Cats

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

32 thoughts on “The RSPCA Can’t Help A Fox (and me)”

  1. That’s a good question. I know we rescue cats on top of cactus, trees, radio towers, etc. all the time. We have bobcats kittens watched from a distance by animal control to see if they were abandoned by their mom at least 2-3 each year. There are rescue organizations setup to take any abandoned animals. I just can’t answer the question honestly. There just isn’t any data.

    Thank your Ruth. I agree, we need to make our concerns known. If the government cannot take care of these problems, there needs to be public groups that are aloud to. The people need to voice their opinions and the government will know that things need to change. The UK has a large pet and wildlife population. Shouldn’t there be resources made to care for them?

    Thanks Michael. We need to start a petition or something. I just don’t know what we can that are not in your area of the world. Any ideas?

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Shohom67 you are obviously a very caring person too and that was a lovely thing your kind policeman did for that poor dog.
    There are some good people, including police, I know some people have bad experiences with them but we are lucky to have caring police in our town, nothing is too much trouble for our neighbourhood PC and PCSO.
    Michael yes I too would like to see more resources for the front line work and less for fancy campaigns and I think more people might be willing to make donations if that happened.

  3. I can’t tell you how touched and grateful I am to hear you all worked so hard to take care of this beautiful creature. I have wanted to come take a look and respond to this article since the day I got the email. My heart goes out to your Michael. I am also very grateful for our local avenues of help. We have it so good. I will never complain about our system again. We had a police officer sit and guard a pit bull that was watching over its dead friend. They gave him 14 hours before they removed them both. They blocked off a lane of traffic and just let him be while they made the arrangements. That is the respect an animal deserves. God bless you all for caring.

    1. Wow, that is impressive behavior by the police officer. I wonder, though, if he would do the same for a cat? Sorry to ask that tricky question.

  4. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    It can be very frustrating and daunting trying to get through to the RSPCA by phone, I’ve known people try then give up after hanging on for ages and then pressing various phone keys, thinking they are getting somwewhere at last, but then are cut off.
    They certainly don’t make it easy to report any suspected cruelty.
    My ex volunteer friend told me that anyone emailing reports to the branch was told they couldn’t be passed on to the cruelty line dept.
    If it was made easier for people to report their suspicions more animals might be saved from abuse.
    But if resources are low I suppose they can’t investigate a case without enough evidence to justify the expense.

    1. But if resources are low I suppose they can’t investigate a case without enough evidence to justify the expense.

      I agree. I would like to see more resources placed at the front line to help individual animals in need and less funding of fancy campaigns.

  5. I had been wondering about the fox. It hurts even looking at the photos and thinking of the poor animal in pain . I’m glad they finally got enough people bothering them that someone came. Thanks to Michael, Rowwdy’s friend and everyone else who called to motivate them!

    1. Yes, it was a team effort, which is great but a bit sad. A phone call from a genuine caller should be sufficient although they must get tons of rubbish calls so I do understand to a certain extent. They could have sent me a trap at least but I sensed they were not interested in helping this fox….until pushed into action.

  6. Wow. What a fantastic string of comments to wake up to, Rowwdy, you are a mover and shaker. Michael, all the good you do pays off. This is a beautiful and brilliant round of loving support by people whole really care about animal welfare, instead of just giving lip-service.

    I hope we hear more. I love it that an urban fox, in London, can rally such support. They deserve it. Think of how much they have adapted over the centuries to living close to people.

    Now the story is documented. Perfect.

    1. Thanks dw. It is a sad but also beautiful story. PoC regulars are beautiful people. One day we will meet up and laugh and have fun and talk about….cats what else 😉 It was a roller coaster ride for me and I cried when the fox was taken away by the RSPCA. They were tears of relief that she would be out of pain whatever happened.

      Honestly, it was a hell for me because for some reason I feel the pain animals feel and I hate that because it messes up my life.

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        Michael you are ‘supersensitive’ or ‘ultrasensitive’ to suffering animals, yes it’s hell feeling like that and is how I feel too, especially about the declawing of cats.
        If I didn’t try to stop thinking for a while about their suffering, I’d go mad and would be no help at all in the fight to stop it happening.
        I can’t sit and eat a meal if a cat or a bird is hungry outside here.
        You are a very kind gentleman unafraid to show your emotions and always determined to help animals in need.
        In a nutshell, a true animal lover.

  7. kevin (kays hill animal sanctuary)

    i was so sad to hear about this fox and no one to help her in her darkest hours of pain and suffering just wished we had been closer to you, i know from experience its always difficult to get help for wildlife unless its on deaths door and imobile, you will always find small rescues and sanctuaries will put them selves out to help were as larger ones don’t have the time to collect, and some just cant be bothered had it been in our neck of the woods i would have been out at least to check on the situation and monitor her well being alass im pleased you’re sorted and i believe the poor fox will be in a better place by now

    1. Thanks. I am sure the fox will be in a better place by now, too. I think sh/he had a broken leg on the right and broken foot on the left. Plus eyesight loss. The whole experience beat me up.

  8. My god this is incredibly sad Michael. Will they keep you posted on what happens to the fox? I hope so. If it lives maybe you could go visit it? I’d certainly try. I’m sure he’d be happy to see you.

    1. Hi Marc, hope you are OK. Something happened. I think there were two or three more phone calls to the RSPCA, two from PoC members and member’s friends. Fantastic. The RSPCA turned up. Phew that was so emotional. Anyway the fox has gone to a RSPCA hospital and is probably euthanised already and if so I kiss her goodbye with tender love. She is out of real pain that showed.

  9. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    So glad the fox is being taken care of now.
    I did contact a friend in Durham who used to be an RSPCA volunteer, she said she would try to help, so maybe the RSPCA had a few calls they couldn’t ignore!
    Whatever, I just hope the poor little soul recovers.

    1. Thank you so much Ruth. It was a massive relief and very tense for me.

      I do believe they received a barrage of calls thanks to PoC regulars and a person in this block, which seems to be the only way to get them out.

  10. I know my friend called Michael. She has been a sustaining member for decades. When she calls about an animal…..she is hell on wheels. She said they DID know about “a” fox. I guess she told them to get their ass out to it and make sure it got CARE…not just death. That’s the best I could get from her as she was nigh onto raving. For a woman in her dotage, she can still surgically remove people’s heads with her tongue. One of her comments was “money talks and BS walks”.

    All’s well that ends well. I truly hope they can save the little guy. Such a sad way of life for these little guys.

  11. Michael: Does Bexley Heath sound close to you? I think she said it was south of Welling just a ways. She has a friend there that cares for animals and is trying to reach her by phone.There is also an RSPCA facility there. She asked which one you have tried to “ring”. If you have the number, can you please give it to me?

    As to the baby. See if you can get him to allow you to set him on your lap. Pet and coo him while you try to to touch that right front leg. It looks infected. If it is soft and warm….definitely infected. The compresses would work wonders to pull that infection out. Also snap his fur right behind his head on the spinal column. Gently pull a little fur up and then release it. See how long it takes to return to body. Ears also are a good sign to check for fever. His left eye also looks a little puffy.

    Really, I think if you could get that leg treated, he could survive. He is not as emaciated as I had expected. Foxes are very resilient. Do you have any B-12 in your house? If so mash 1,000 mgs and dissolve in water and try to get that in him. Promotes appetite and helps the red blood cells. Co Q Ten would be a tremendous benefit as well.

    1. Rowwdy, thanks for everything. The RSPCA came down eventually (I was shocked) – no idea why after being rejected by them – and caught the fox. I am pleased, so pleased and sad. Thanks again. See the comment above.

  12. Something happened. Someone helped. The RSCPA came but no one told me. The RSPCA had turned me down.

    We have caught this fox. It was tricky. I helped a bit to keep him in the area because all of sudden I saw the RSPCA person, who trapped him. The fox will be taken to an animal hospital. I don’t know if he will be treated or euthanised.

    Who helped me? Ruth, Rowwdy. Someone else. Please tell me. Whoever you are, bless you a thousand times. Perhaps someone else phoned up. Perhaps someone else where I live also phoned and the two phone calls together were enough to make the RSPCA come and take action.

    Update: I am told someone else called the RSPCA from this block of flats and it seems that these two calls plus one or two or three others from PoC regulars or their contacts encouraged the RSPCA to come out. Now we know how to get them to come out! If someone else did something, thanks a lot.

  13. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    That is so awful Michael, I’d get back on the phone and demand to speak to the highest authority of the RSPCA because this is what Ask Annie on their web site says:

    ‘When a sick or injured fox has been contained or is immobile (unable to move itself), the RSPCA or another animal organisation can be contacted to collect the animal in order to treat and rehabilitate it. Please contact our 24-hour cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999 to report the incident’

    There is no reason that an Inspector can’t come and collect the fox from outside your door, they are on 24 hour call.
    I can’t believe either that your vets won’t help, what is wrong with these people who work with animals because they supposedly love them yet they won’t help an animal in distress!
    I hope you get some help soon!

    1. You’re a beautiful person, Ruth, but this fox can move (just and slowly) and if a wild animal can move, no one moves to help it. I am thinking about this all the time. He is on the lawn right now, in pain and resting.

  14. Oh that’s so sad, the poor creature must be in terrible pain, I can well understand how upset you must be Michael, you must feel helpless seeing him suffering. I don’t think the RSPCA cares about individual animals, in our experience they won’t come out even if you phone them in desperate straits, and yet when the 15 cats were abandoned next door a man was able to stop an RSPCA van and actually bring him here one evening and he got an inspector out straight away. I don’t know how they work out thbeir priorities but that poor fox looks as though he needs help urgently. I hope Rowwdy’s friend is able to help. Good luck, let us know what happens.

    1. Oh that’s so sad, the poor creature must be in terrible pain

      Yes, he licks the foot (actually both feet) all the time. All the fur has gone. He falls asleep in the licking position because he is so tired.

    2. Thanks Babz. The RSPCA are following the USA model – PETA and the Humane Society. They are trying to make themselves a big business. The priority is not the individual animal, fox or cat, who needs help. This is a reflection of the way the world is going wrong. It is so disturbing to me. Charities have become businesses in an ever more competitive (rat race) world. Nothing is sacred. Humans must stop breeding.

  15. I hope you can find a traveling vet who will come out and do the deed. I know you are suffering Michael. Best wishes for a fast, quiet resolution.

  16. Michael: Let me call my little British friend. She has raised hell with the RSPCA in years past. I will get back to you in a couple of hours. In the meantime, if you can touch him ….try some warm epsom salts compresses or even hot oatmeal compresses IF he will let you. You can also apply a vanilla soaked cloth for pain and infection. Vanilla is a great healer. He probably isn’t getting better because his immune system is down because of lack of nutrition. Be back with you soon.

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