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JSPCA President’s 150th Anniversary Article

When one mentions the word Anniversary it can produce a vast amount of different responses from people. Children are often very excited about their birthday anniversary, whereas the more mature of years will often reply that age is just a number. The 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Animals Shelter in 1868 which then became incorporated with the JSPCA in 1936 is both very exciting and a big number to be proud of as this event is one no mortal will ever achieve.

The specific focus of the Society has evolved in response to the challenges of the time but always within the bounds of its current mission statement ‘ To promote knowledge, and provide for sick, injured, old and unwanted animals.’ and that is what it will continue to do.  In the early years help was provided to working horses and dogs but since the turn of the last century all the provision has been to companion animals and wildlife. Over such a long period of time the charity has had to adapt its services commensurate with its means as it relies on voluntary donations which have been extremely generous with notable benefactions not least that of Miss Wilson who bought the premises on St Saviour’s road in 1936.

Looking forward any plans one wishes to make will only come to fruition if funding can be secured either by donations or supported business planning. However what one would also appreciate is a look in to that magical crystal ball telling what the future demands on the Society may be in five, ten, twenty and beyond years. Appraising the current island human and animal demographic gives some clues and also the consideration of the possible effects of Brexit on both. Whatever happens having trained adaptable motivated staff will enable the Society to meet any challenges, but again essentially it is to remain true to the mission statement just as it says on the garage door at the front of our premises.

To be more specific at this time there was been a very welcome uptake to the ‘Dog Guardian scheme’ where members of the public look after dogs which need re habituating to home life before they can be re homed permanently. This requires careful and sustained behaviour training to be successful which is initiated maintained and monitored by Shelter staff. This process is a huge advance in rehoming policy and is producing great results. Though requiring very different skills some behaviour training of cats is also being undertaken in house. Caring for wildlife is another core provision and presents special challenges involving ethical decision making. The ongoing Red Squirrel project of disease monitoring amongst the island population has national importance.

Promoting knowledge is achieved by ’just being here and available’. Also we are fortunate enough to have help both from and through sponsorship of a regular page in the Evening Post offering advice about choosing a dog or pet. More fundamentally many school and other groups have conducted visits of the premises to see the animals and facilities first hand where many and varied questions are answered. Increasing association with other local animal charity affiliates has been of much mutual benefit and every effort will be made to develop this with a major opportunity being at the JSPCA Family day at the RJHS on Saturday 28th April as part of the 150th Anniversary.

Our link with Highlands College and higher education is now well established with qualified members of staff teaching modules in Animal welfare using the in house facilities to best effect.

Taking small steps forward for (in the majority) our four and two legged animal charges will be our path. Maintaining improving and refining our services within the charitable animal welfare sector is what is needed. The Society has evolved over a very long time and is very proud to be part of Jersey life. The J is as important as the SPCA and remaining true to what the island expects of the charity will see it improve and mature to provide a service that all its benefactors would wish and require.

Charlie Gruchy
JSPCA President