Putney’s pets are feeling the pinch as the RSPCA confirms it will be closing the animal hospital which was featured in disgraced presenter Rolf Harris’s show of the same name.
Harris, 84, presented Animal Hospital for 10 years between 1994 and 2004 and was jailed last year for more than five years for historic child sex offences.
The charity has run out of funds to keep four busy London clinics open as it struggles to manage finances in the wake of several issues, from huge legal bills against fox hunters to decreases in donations.
Viewers saw some of the 6,500 animals are admitted to the Putney hospital, and saw staff treat critters from housecats to hamsters and rabbits to reptiles.
Wildlife casualties from urban foxes to water birds were also cared for at the clinic, as well as the odd badger, seal or tarantula.
The RSPCA confirmed that over the past few years they have faced increasing demands on their services, but an instable income which they attributed to ‘the volatility of legacy income’.
A statement from the charity said: “The very difficult proposal to close Putney Animal Hospital and three London clinics is part of an overall restructure, which would also see veterinary services offered at nearby clinics and centres strengthened.
“It would be with great sadness that the RSPCA would lose the roles at Putney and the London clinics but we would hope to keep most of our dedicated and much-valued staff through the redeployment opportunities opening up at our other London sites.”
The RSPCA has promised to relocate most of the services to other clinics – the Putney hospital offered everything for poorly pets, including operating theatres, a dispensary and a laboratory and 24-hour telephone service.
The area’s stray cats will have to wander further afield to be rescued, as the hospital admitted more than 20 unclaimed kitties a week.
However the RSPCA say most of the animals treated at Putney Animal Hospital have owners and they will focus on their frontline services directed at creatures most in need, ones who are rescued by inspectors.
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Inset picture courtesy of Lindsey Turner, with thanks