Dozens of animal lovers have cancelled their regular donations to the RSPCA as part of a campaign against the use of an “inhumane” device used to put down unwanted dogs.
The backlash began after the society, which relies on millions of pounds of public-donated money each year, ordered the destruction of ten German shepherd dogs whose owner had recently died.
The dogs, which had been kept indoors for several weeks and were said to be aggressive and in poor condition, were killed with a captive bolt gun of the kind used in abattoirs to stun livestock before slaughter. The use of captive bolt guns is deemed “inhumane” and “unacceptable” for the destruction of dogs by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
Since news of the killings in June began circulating on the internet, nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for use of the bolt guns to be banned. Animal shelters and dog rescue charities have condemned the RSPCA and accused it of failing to try to find new homes for the dogs.
The charity says that it would have been impossible to rehome the dogs and there was no alternative to having them destroyed.But instead of being put down with a pain-free injection, they were caught with a “grab” pole — a noose at the end of a stick — before being dragged outside and shot in the head with the bolt gun, which fires a metal bar about three inches long into the animal’s brain. In an abattoir, stunning is followed either by bleeding or use of a “pithing” stick to destroy the brain, causing instant death.
According to the WSPA, use of the captive bolt gun to put down domestic animals is “unacceptable” because of the difficulty of ensuring a clean kill. It states that it is “not recommended for euthanasia, as other methods are more practicable and humane”.
The RSPCA admits that it did not approach animal rescue shelters for help in finding homes for the dogs.
Jayne Shenstone, founder of German Shepherd Rescue, which rehouses between 200 and 300 alsatians every year, said: “The RSPCA never approached us or any other dog rescue centre. There was no reason for the dogs to be destroyed, and certainly not in the way they were. If anyone else had killed ten dogs in such a cruel way the RSPCA would have been the first to prosecute.”
Dozens of people have said they are cancelling standing orders or reconsidering legacies, which earn the RSPCA tens of millions of pounds a year.
Cathy Watson, a retired nurse from North Yorkshire, has cancelled her standing order. Mrs Watson, who has had three rescued alsatians, said: “The reason is because the RSPCA should have offered these dogs to a reputable, respected German shepherd rescue centre, yet they did not.” Clare Dodson, from Wimborne, Dorset, another signatory to the petition, wrote: “I am a supporter of the work of the RSPCA but am shocked and saddened by this cruel practice.” Julie Higam, from Milton Keynes, said: “I will no longer support you until this disgusting method is banned.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “It was an absolutely extreme case. I have never heard of this method being used before but apparently eight inspectors, including some very senior and experienced, decided it was the best course of action.”
But an email from the WSPA states:
'The RSPCA inspector involved was left with the difficult task of euthanasing dogs that were extremely difficult to handle and chose to use a captive bolt, after carefully considering the consequences of our methods. Although captive bolts are not currently used for euthanasing dogs in WSPA projects, when properly applied by a trained professional this method does ensure a swift and humane death. '
If this was not normal practice, how could they be so experienced? Once again - IT DOES NOT ADD UP!!!!!