Charity urges people not to let animals suffer

Animal rescuers are urging members of the public to get sick and injured animals to rescue organisations or veterinary centres after a spate of calls from people who have left wildlife casualties to suffer. Over the past 2 weeks East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service has received over 15 calls from people who have taken casualties home for several days without seeking veterinary help and not realised that they have caused animals to suffer as a result.

A well-meaning member of the public contacted East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) over the weekend after having kept a mallard duck at home for a week before contacting them. "I asked the gentleman which vets he had taken the duck to and he answered ‘I haven’t’ and when asked why he told me ‘I thought the injuries were fatal’, as a result of not seeking veterinary treatment this bird will never fly again as it has a fractured wing which is healing wrong, this bird would have been in severe pain initially and a lot of discomfort for some time without any medication, surely if you think an animal is seriously injured you should seek veterinary help and even have the animal euthanized if it genuinely is fatally injured, to prevent suffering said Trevor Weeks rescue co-ordinator East Sussex WRAS.

"I have been wondering for some time why people think that if an animal is badly injured and they think it is going to die that the best course of action is to take it home place it in a shed, bathroom or somewhere and let it slowly die. If you came across a child which had been run over in the street you would dial 999 or rush the child to hospital, so why don’t we do the same for animals? said Trevor Weeks.

"WRAS has been made aware of a few incidents where members of the public have not taken animal casualties, including pets and wildlife, to their local vets out of concern that they will be charged huge amounts of money despite the animal not belonging to them. We have also had members of the public tell us that they have phoned one particular vets practice who have flatly refused to deal with injured wildlife, which is against the ethics of being a vet. Also with more and more emergency veterinary clinics opening up, there are fewer local vets available out of hours and many people now have to travel over 15 miles to find a vet out of hours in an emergency and people have told us that they are not prepared to travel this distance having found an injured animal. These emergency clinics are normally very happy to help and most vets are at this clinics are very caring people Said Trevor.

"We regularly get calls from people who have found an injured rabbit, gull, garden bird, hedgehog or other animal and clearly from the description of its injuries it needed veterinary help, but sadly people have just taken them home to look after without any pain relief nor antibiotics. Many injured animals especially those hit by cars have internal injuries which people will not be able to identify. Also shock can be a big killer but if taken to a vets or rescue centre for medication this can be reduced down and help save their lives, but sadly people seem to have the wrong idea about what to do with casualties and many people seem to think that vets do not deal with injured wildlife or that they cannot take them to a vets for treatment. Vets have an obligation to deal with any sick or injured animal, and all good and professional veterinary centres will help and not just euthanase casualties, there are some very good and very caring vets in Sussex said Trevor.

WRAS is only a small organisation in comparison with many of the other wildlife organisations and animal welfare charities which exist, and receives over 2000 calls for help and advice every year. During busy period WRAS struggles to deal with the influx of calls and casualties, and although the organisation is slowly expanding, it does not have the funding and resources to deal with every call and casualty. "Many people think we are a large organisation like Wildlife Aid, the RSPCA, or St Tiggywinkles but these charities have much high turnovers and reserves of money than WRAS, some people even think we are paid by local councils and funded by Government. We are just a small local charity which work as efficiently as possible to help as many wildlife casualties as we can. We are also one of the few wildlife rescue organisations which operate a 24 hours ambulance service to help casualties round the clock, but again our resources are limited on how many calls we can respond to, with more financial support, especially by standing order giving a small amount on a monthly basis, we would be able to help much more said Trevor.

Anyone wanting to support WRAS may donate online or follow us on facebook. Donations can also be sent to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, Director, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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