A clinic treating nearly a thousand sick animals a year is facing closure if plans put forward by the RSPCA go ahead.
The centre in Camberwell Station Road is one of three up for the chop in London as the animal welfare charity struggles to cope with dwindling funds.
Along with the Putney Animal Hospital and a facility in Kilburn, the Camberwell Clinic could fall victim to an organisational restructure which would prioritise the charity’s work rescuing animals.
Owners of poorly pets in the area would have to seek help from alternative charities like The Celia Hammond Trust in Lewisham, but a spokeswoman there told the News they were already overwhelmed at their 24-hour clinic.
“We are very busy but we will have to do the best to cope,” she said. “We do think it’s a blow to local animals to lose that clinic. We’ve been under a lot of pressure for several years since the recession,” she added, as the service there now runs 30 consultations a day and up to 150 surgeries a week.
“Losing any service to animals is going to have an impact on local animal welfare.”
Pooch the cat (pictured) and his owner David O’Toole, of Camberwell New Road, have been using the Camberwell RSPCA clinic for fifteen years and David says it will be a “great loss” to the area if it closes.
“The service is always brilliant and there’s always lots of pensioners in there. People turn up there in mobility scooters so how are they going to get to another place? It’s a loss to the fabric of the community,” said the 44-year-old.
Clinic staff, who have been told they will be found roles at alternative sites if the closure goes ahead, have started a petition to save the valued service.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said the charity was now considering all the responses to a public consultation on the closures and would make a decision within the next two months. She added it would be with “great sadness” that the RSPCA would lose the roles at Camberwell 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.”