But let’s admit there’s a lot of blame to share around here:
RSPCA inspectors visited Lockhurst’s former home in Erith, in October 2010, when Jack was just 16 weeks old. They recommended the plastic box he was kept in be taken away and gave the pair advice on training. And noticing they were struggling, the inspectors suggested they hand over ownership.
But seven months later, they found Jack dead in the same crate, covered by a curtain.Yes, you read that right. They were so concerned they left the animal there for seven months…!
And no, it wasn’t misguided sympathy with their ‘vulnerabilities’. Because vulnerable people are actually the RSPCA’s preferred prey:
A retired woman finally reunited with her dog ten months after it was seized by the RSPCA has revealed how her life was turned upside down by the animal charity.It was mentioned in the comments to this case; it’s a real horror story. And should get just as many column inches as this case:
On June 22 last year three RSPCA inspectors with police reinforcement swooped on her home and took away her 13 cats, four cockerels and her dog, Sweetie, who she had taken in at the request of villagers.
"It was the start of the most frightening ten months of my life," Miss Langley said. "I've never been in trouble with the police and had never seen the inside of a courtroom."
Within days she was told the RSPCA had put down five of her cats.
Frightened Miss Langley contacted her vet, David Smith, who demanded to see the bodies.
Mr Smith of Lakeview Veterinary Centre – which operates in Hawkinge, Finglesham and Deal – said he had been left shocked by the way Miss Langley had been raided and asked the Royal Veterinary College to carry out an independent post-mortem examination on a ginger Tom and an adult female – which was pregnant with three kittens.
He said: "There appears to be no good reason why the RSPCA allowed these animals to be put to sleep. The RVC post mortems concluded the cats were healthy with no signs of incorrect feeding or problems with fleas or other illnesses."So what is the RVC doing about censuring the vet who destroyed the cats for the RSPCA? My guess is nothing.
The vet said he believed Miss Langley had become overwhelmed by the responsibility in a house where poor building work had left her with water leaks and lack of lighting.
Mr Smith said: "The inside of her house may not have been in a condition that many people would choose to live, but the animals were happy. This lady needed help and support, not hauling through the courts."Luckily for her, the courts – on this occasion – did the job they were supposed to do:
Miss Langley's court ordeal began in August when she was told she would face 13 charges of neglect and failing to look after her animals properly.
She was given legal aid to fight her case and was represented by Nigel Weller, a solicitor from East Sussex who has built a reputation fighting RSPCA court cases.
After three preliminary hearings, Miss Langley faced a three-day trial in March, but the RSPCA dropped 11 of the 13 charges. Miss Langley pleaded guilty to failing to get veterinary care quickly enough for two of her animals.I’d be interested to know which two – clearly, not the five cats the RSPCA put down!
The animal charity pushed for court costs of £28,000, asking magistrates to make an order on the pensioner's home, and called for her to be banned from keeping animals.
But on Friday, April 20, magistrates ordered that Miss Langley's dog, cockerels and one cat should be returned.
She was given a conditional discharge with no fine or costs imposed.Reading between the lines here, I suspect the magistrates were pretty scathing of the attempts by the RSPCA to hound this woman. Good for them!
What do the RSPCA do to head off this potential PR disaster?
The usual, of course. Wheel out the minion to try to excuse this!
The RSPCA said it had no plans to review its use of vets following criticism the five cats should not have been destroyed and maintained that it works with people who find difficulty looking after their animals .Well…after a suitable period, say, seven months?
Spokeswoman Klare Kennett said: "We tried to help Miss Langley, but were turned away, so had no choice but to take the animals into our care."Into your ‘care’ where they remained for five days, before being put down, despite being perfectly healthy?
She said the costs of £28,000 covered the charity's bill for bringing the case to court.Well, now you’ll have to find that £28,000 somewhere else, won’t you?
Might I suggest they save themselves the money they clearly shell out to employ ‘spokespeople’ like you, who merely turn a PR crisis into a PR disaster?
Remember! Never, never, never, NEVER give money to this ‘charity’.