The RSPCA is a leading animal welfare charity based in the UK, offering solace and care for animals who have been mistreated and works towards alleviating the suffering of animals through all lawful means possible. In 2020 alone, they investigated over 57,000 reports of animal cruelty.
Sonia Hulme and Steve Wickham, two animal rescue officers who work for the RSPCA, have been dedicating their time out of work hours to save hundreds of animals. Setting up and converting a garage from their home, the couple have rescued hundreds of animals to date since beginning their venture in April, including around 100 ducklings, numerous fox cubs, goslings, swans, geese, hedgehogs and even mice. This has allowed more time for their colleagues to be able to cope with the high demand for rescues and overall, in turn, allowing more animals to be rescued, as rescuers were not taken off the road for such a long period of time. Working from their home also means that after the RSPCA Stapeley Grange centre has closed, workers can bring rescued animals to the safe comfort of Sonia and Steve’s garage conversion.
Sonia expressed her passions towards her work, saying:
“We have been very busy over the summer and you never know what you might get from one evening to the other. Sometimes we have baby mice that need hand-rearing so we have to use a little brush dipped in kitten milk to feed them. We also get various birds brought in - some are so small it is hard to tell what species of bird they are. But we have had a large variety from a blackcap, to magasiner to ducklings - a lot of ducklings! Some baby birds need hand-rearing using a small syringe - other birds may need tube feeding. So we have to get up at first light to feed them and I have trained helpers who can feed them while I am working. For older birds, we sometimes have to dig the garden to get worms for them.”
Pictured below are some of the animals that the couple have rescued so far:
Within the garage there are incubators and heat pads, which local groups have kindly donated towards their good cause. This helps to offer many rescue animals the appropriate care and respite that they need, with the couple taking care of them from the moment they wake up to the end of the evening.
Inspector Jess Arajo, who works in the Greater Manchester area and uses the service, said:
“It is great because it allows us to drop off injured wildlife in safe hands during a traditional out-of-hours period which means we can go back on the road and help more animals in need.”