Friday, 23 July 2010
Four hours later I was still seething. A whole hour of therapeutic bracken strimming had done little to ease my mood, even a fresh basil, tomato and mozzarella salad washed down with a vat of cheap plonk could not persuade me to ease up. Lets face it, I am in a bad mood. Cause? Well for once not goats. No.
The RSPCA are the cause.
Now we have long supported animal charities, sometimes we do wonder where our hard earned pennies go when given to such a leviathan charity as the RSPCA but if our donation buys the tea and biccies in one of the three huge call centres dedicated to Royally preventing cruelty to animals then so be it. At least the intrepid Inspectors will be refreshed as they right animals done wrong.
Given my work in child protection, the horrors therein, it should come as no surprise that those engaged in causing suffering to children think nothing of brutality to animals. And so my path and the path of the RSPCA often cross, mostly just in passing, always with professional courtesy, each doing their job. Over six weeks ago I referred a case to them, a house so unimaginably filthy, condemned by environmental health, warrants sought , evictions imminent. The adults chose to live there. The dogs, up to seven, Alsatians, did not. These unfortunate canines are confined to a terrace house, never going outside yet alone taken for walks, living in their own squalor. The smell from outside was eye watering. Inside the setting for a horror movie. It might surprise folk that social workers have no powers, we have less power of entry to property than the electricity board. If we cannot gain access to help children, we definitely cannot sort out the animals. So call in the RSPCA, given the numbers of dogs, the numbers of concerns and the very hot weather I did expect a swift response. Six weeks and numerous phone calls later they still have not even visited the house. The dogs have been heard up until very recently pitifully crying, but no one has called. But its not the lack of action that has caused such anger within.
Its their call centre.
One imbecile in particular who is now subject of an official complaint for appalling rudeness, obstruction, unprofessional manner and for eating more than his share of the biscuits my charitable donations have no doubt funded.
I called to get some feedback on the progress of the case. I called partly in hope that something had been done having visited the property yesterday and found it eerily silent, dog wise anyway, but I called mostly as I had an email from the RSPCA asking me to do so. Once he had identified himself as a RSPCA call handler his first remark was why had I phoned this number. My reply that it was the one I had been given was rewarded by a snort of derision and a comment that they don't give this number out to the public.
I explained it was the number given and incidentally the number was the one I always used, could he check the progress of case number 123?
A huff indicated he was checking records, it had been passed to the field team, they were dealing with it.
He could not explain what that meant as it was breaking some rule or other, neither could he pass on my concern that six weeks had passed, I could do that if I called the national call centre, he was, he pointedly remarked in the regional call centre.
We established it was my region.
Therefore the right call centre, but still he could not pass on the message. I asked him how the system worked, from the point of referral who did what, no he couldn't that was the job of the national call centre.
What was the role of the regional call centre I asked, and this is where it all went Pete Tong with him claiming he told me and would not repeat himself, me pointing out I was taking notes and wanted to speak to his manager and eventually after five minutes of deafening keep you waiting in the hope you hang up music a bit more helpful operator took note of my concerns, would pass the message on and promised to have word in her rude minions shell like.
I reinforced my not happy bunny stance by faxing over to the national call centre a formal complaint.
What do I take from this? Well I shall not be buying the RSPCA staff any more tea and biccies and in future any donations made to animal charities will be to the local and small ones. Ones like the one run by Glenys Bufton, a marvelous woman from Llandridnod who single handed has rescued more animals the the RSPCA has eaten biscuits. Look her up on google, you wont find a web page but you will find lots of thankyous and info on how to donate.
Posted by Tony at 21:54