Cats Protection Charity.

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Cats Protection Charity.

Post  Admin on Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:30 pm

Animal charity which receives £62m a year in donations spends £12m on staff... but cuts care for cats.

Cats Protection whistleblower: Volunteers laid off and seven centres shut
It has 8,500 unpaid workers but chief executive on more than £100,000
Vaccinations 'have been reduced for the sake of saving £2 per cat'

Charity has allegedly put down some cats rather than paying vets' fees
Chiefs deny the claim, saying they 'never put a healthy cat to sleep'

One of Britain’s best-loved animal charities is today accused of putting profits before pet welfare after making swingeing cuts to services despite receiving a record income.

Cats Protection receives £62 million a year in donations from caring animal lovers and investment profits – yet a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed that it has slashed spending on frontline services by more than £3 million.

The cuts include closing seven centres because they were helping ‘too many’ cats, and reining back on its crucial neutering programme, resulting in 17,000 fewer stray and rescued animals being helped.
Despite the cuts, Cats Protection increased its spending on staff to more than £12 million a year – including more than £100,000 on wages for its chief executive – even though it is run largely by an army of 8,500 unpaid volunteers.

Now some of those volunteers have come forward to accuse bosses of ‘betraying’ the millions of people who make donations.
The whistleblowers, who have now left the charity, also revealed how:
Vaccine payments have been reduced, so cats are no longer immunised against bacterial infection, saving £2 a time but putting animals at increased risk.
Staff and volunteers are now told not to visit properties where rescue cats are being rehomed – except in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.
Cats Protection has allegedly put down sick cats, rather than paying vets’ fees.

‘It is no longer about rescuing as many cats as possible, it has become about cutting as many costs as possible,’ said former volunteer Bernice Moorhouse.

Cats Protection, which has more than 250 branches, says its ‘vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs’, with neutering and rehoming its two main objectives.

But former volunteers have been left dismayed by cuts.

One of the areas to be hardest hit  is the neutering of cats – even though the charity itself has warned that the UK is being overrun by an unprecedented number of strays, as owners can’t afford to neuter their animals or care for their litters.
A female cat can produce 18 kittens in a year and can end up with 20,000 descendants in just five years. However, the number of cats neutered by the charity fell by 20,000 in 2012.
Mary Millar told how administrators chipped away at funding for her branch in Inverclyde, until they closed it for good in October. She said her branch had requested £9,000 for neutering in 2013, based on the number of cats brought in  the previous year, but had been given only £1,600.
She said: ‘It’s appalling the way they treat the volunteers by cutting back, irrespective of the effects on the animals.’ She also revealed the cuts to the vaccination programme, saying: ‘In February 2013, they recommended we use cheaper vaccines and give the cats an injection which didn’t cover them against all the diseases, such as respiratory infection. I couldn’t believe they would be willing to put the cats’ health at risk for a small saving.’
But a spokesman from Cats Protection was adamant that ‘all cats in our care must receive a minimum veterinary standard of care, with most receiving more’.

Mrs Millar also spoke out against the decision to cut back visits before rehoming strays. ‘It’s disgraceful’, she said. ‘How can you tell over the phone if people are lying or not, or whether they are suitable owners?’

Fellow former volunteer Mrs Moorhouse was left ‘devastated’ when her Cardiff branch was axed in November 2012 after 23 years. ‘It felt like a kick in the teeth,’ she said.

‘It felt like Cats Protection were prioritising cost over the care of the cats.’ She also accused the charity of targeting their branch for closure because they had requested £12,000 to pay for neutering that year.

‘They said we shouldn’t have been neutering so many cats and that we were helping too many people, which was now unaffordable. So they were closing us down. How can they justify paying themselves such high salaries while shutting the centres where the real work is carried out? It was just easier for them to shut us down than fight to keep us open. We helped thousands of stray cats every year – where will they go now?’
Other branches that have been shut in the past two years include Slough, Maidenhead and Windsor, Inverness, North Shropshire, Callington in Cornwall and Leeds.

While Cats Protection – formerly known as the Cats Protection League claim the cuts are not ‘adversely affecting our care of cats’, figures show that the charity helped 17,000 fewer cats in 2012 than in 2011.

Another volunteer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused ‘heartless’ Cats Protection of putting down cats unnecessarily.

‘When I was working for them I was fostering a lot of cats and they said they would take a couple off my hands and rehome them.

‘I stupidly believed them. One of them was a six-month old kitten and they ended up putting her down. They said she was too frightened on her own in the pen. But they didn’t make any efforts to help her. In my opinion it was just easier and cheaper for them to get rid of her.

‘They also wanted us to put down any cats that were over ten years old,’ added the former volunteer. ‘And if blood tests revealed the cats had any diseases, regardless of age, we had to put them down too, rather than pay a vet to cure them.’

However, Cats Protection deny the claim and say they ‘never put a healthy cat to sleep’ and put down sick cats only on vets’ advice.

The charity admitted they had cut back their neutering budget following ‘overspends’ in previous years, but said the budget rose again last year. It also admitted no longer carrying out home visits for every rehoming, but pointed out: ‘Since we’ve reduced the number of home visits the number of cats returned to us has not increased.’

Cats Protection chief executive Peter Hepburn added: ‘In an organisation as large as ours, there are bound to be one or two who are unhappy with things.’

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Post  Trilby Bee on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:25 am

Yes, I read something along these lines some time ago and haven't bought their Christmas cards for a couple of years. I had always thought they were the ones you could trust. How can they justify paying their CEO £100k? £50k is a decent salary, and think how many cats you could help with the other £50k. To rehome a cat/kitten without a home check is unbelievable and to say the number of cats returned since they stopped home-checking is not a sensible reply. They may have been advertised on the dreaded Gumtree site 'free to good home' and ended up as bait for fighting dogs or simply dumped (hence the increasing number of strays). If they have been home-checked for a previous adoption and seen to be OK, then fine.
Thank goodness Celia Hammond is still around and as far as one can see, appears to be genuine and caring.
Trilby Bee

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