Charity watchdog turns the spotlight on RSPCA over claims it bullies opposing lawyers and whistleblowers.

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Charity watchdog turns the spotlight on RSPCA over claims it bullies opposing lawyers and whistleblowers.

Post  Admin on Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:08 am

The RSPCA is being scrutinised by the Charity Commission over claims that it uses intimidatory and bullying tactics, particularly when bringing prosecutions for animal cruelty.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that the watchdog has written to various organisations and voluntary groups asking for specific examples of such behaviour by the RSPCA.

The concerns are expected to be raised by the Commission at a meeting with RSPCA trustees.

The incidents that have triggered the review include the suicide in May of Dawn Aubrey-Ward, 43, a former RSPCA inspector whose character and integrity the charity had publicly attacked.

After she accused the RSPCA of unnecessarily killing healthy animals, the charity posted a critical statement about her on its website and she was besieged by hate mail, death threats and abusive telephone calls.

The charity has also been accused of ‘hounding’ barrister Jonathan Rich, who defended hundreds of people it prosecuted.

He claims he had to spend £1 million to protect himself against spurious complaints made to his professional body, the Bar Standards Board.

His allegations are echoed by Norfolk vet Colin Vogel, who has appeared for the defence in numerous animal cruelty cases.

He says the RSPCA attempted to discredit him with complaints to the Society of Expert Witnesses, the Law Society and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

There have been scores of similar claims over recent years and a so-called Self Help Group has even been set up for farmers and pet owners experiencing difficulty with the animal charity.

Anne Kasica, a spokeswoman for the SHG, declined to comment on the Charity Commission’s action.

However, in a blog post three weeks ago, she accused the RSPCA of ruining lives with its ‘heavy-handed investigations’ and said: ‘They prosecute the vulnerable, the elderly . . . Animals die in RSPCA care.’

The charity has also been criticised by the Countryside Alliance for using a large proportion of donors’ money on bringing cruelty prosecutions, as well as by a judge in a recent case.

In the action against the Heythrop Hunt, in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency, the judge suggested that even though the case was successful, the public might feel the £330,000 spent by the RSPCA ‘can be more usefully employed’.
In a leaked document, the RSPCA’s own deputy chairman, Paul Draycott, revealed an estimated £3 million budget deficit this year and questioned the charity’s strategy.

The Charity Commission denied there was a formal investigation into the RSPCA but confirmed that a new officer had taken over responsibility for liaising with it.

A spokeswoman said the official ‘had been undertaking some fact-finding research. This involved corresponding with various parties about their experience with the charity’.

She added that the officer could raise any problems with RSPCA trustees and that, if there were serious questions to be answered, a formal inquiry could be launched.

She said: ‘We are now taking the opportunity to meet personally with the trustees for an informal dialogue.’

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘The Charity Commission has confirmed that it is not investigating.’

But Barney White-Spunner, the Countryside Alliance’s executive chairman, said it did not matter what the Commission called the talks: ‘It amounts to the same thing, an investigation or an enquiry.

‘We are very pleased that the RSPCA’s role as a private prosecutor is being examined.’


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Re: Charity watchdog turns the spotlight on RSPCA over claims it bullies opposing lawyers and whistleblowers.

Post  misty02 on Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:44 pm

There is a light at the end of the tunnel


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again any mileage???

Post  millie1* on Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:49 am

Would it be worth adding our exeriences to the mix - trilby you have experienced harrassment I believe, I was driven nearly to suicidal by them and I'm sure others have. Even had their solicitor threatening to PTS one of my horses (not yet brought to court) since she deteriorated in their care, this was done in front of my solicitor in a court room!!!! Funny the horse was fit and well 4 months later though I didnt know that cos wasnt allowed to see it.

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Re: Charity watchdog turns the spotlight on RSPCA over claims it bullies opposing lawyers and whistleblowers.

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