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A day in the life of the RSPCA
WITH the RSPCA as busy as ever in 2014, the Guardian took a road trip with inspector Nadine Pengilly to experience a day in her shoes.
Nadine is the inspector for Northwich, Middlewich, Winsford, Crewe and Nantwich and has been with the organisation for 10 years following a stint in the Navy.
I followed Nadine around the county as she went from one job to the next.
- 9.30am ABANDONED horses are an increasing problem and Nadine’s first job of the day was to prove the most difficult, with six animals reported in a Northwich field.
Unfortunately one had already died, but World Horse Welfare called on the RSPCA’s help to remove a particularly skinny colt on abandonment grounds.
“If we had all space in the world then we would home them all in stables facilities,” says Nadine.
“We’ll leave an abandonment notice, but it’s not very likely the owners will come forward.”
Joined by Rachel Andrews from World Horse Welfare, the pair managed to coax the nervous youngster up to a gate.
However, the colt was proving difficult to catch and it took Rachel’s strength and the arrival of local vets to finally lead him down to the roadside.
“Horses are not worth very much these days,” explains Rachel.
“This one is worm-burdened so we’ll take him away, we’ll leave a notice of removal for the others and if the owners haven’t come forward in two weeks it’s likely we’ll end up taking them too.”
With Cheshire Police present to authorise the removal, we leave Rachel and the vets to wait for transport.
- 12pm NADINE received a report of a collapsed sheep with two baby lambs in Lymm.
There was no sign of the fallen sheep when we arrived, just lots of lambs playing in the field among their parents.
“Sometimes they can become partially paralysed after giving birth,” says Nadine. “In this case it may just have been resting or the farmer may have dealt with it.”
- 12.30pm NADINE’s jobs are electronically posted via a national call centre and she received reports of a trapped swan in a Middlewich industrial estate.
He proved no problem for Nadine as she picked him up into the van before carrying him back down to the river.
“He probably went for a little wander,” she laughs.
“It could be quite scary for him if he’s not sure how to find his way back. He may have been scared off by another male.”
- 1.30pm WE took a call from two young men in Middlewich, who had five cats and a dog they could not look after.
Nadine informed me these cats were probably worm-burdened – which became clear when entering the property.
The animals were signed over and loaded into the van to be taken to the clinic in Salford.
“I’m glad they rang up,” explains Nadine. “If they’d left them any longer they could have died.”
Upon reaching Salford the animals were treated by a vet, but six lots of paperwork was to take up a large part of Nadine’s afternoon.
- 4.30pm BACK in Northwich and Nadine visits a couple struggling to deal with a new puppy – he was a Christmas present.
It was fascinating, but also eye-opening, to spend a day witnessing the RSPCA’s work. Nadine, like most owners, loves animals and is dedicated to her job because of it, but some people’s neglect, ill-will and lack of awareness mean a never-ending cycle of recovering and re-homing for the county’s inspectors.
To help the RSPCA, text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard rate message).
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