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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
RSPCA offers 'affordable' clinic
Treatment at the clinic
Tess the dog receives treatment at the clinic.
A RSPCA clinic is opening in a south Wales town to offer treatment at reduced rates for pet owners who find it difficult to afford vets' bills.

People in the south Wales valleys who are on means-tested benefits will be eligible to take their pets to the Merthyr Tydfil-based service.

The clinic offers a range of services and the charity said it would take away worry over cost for some pet owners.

It follows the case of a man who sawed off his dog's leg to avoid vet fees.

Griffith Prosser, 35 from Aberfan, south Wales, amputated the front leg of Bumper, a Collie cross last October after the dog suffered injuries in a car accident.

During Friday's court hearing in Merthyr magistrates, he claimed he could not afford to take Bumper to the vet.

Prosser admitted causing unnecessary suffering and practising veterinary surgery while unregistered and was banned from keeping a dog for 10 years.

RSPCA manager for Wales, Kate Jones, said the case highlighted the need for a clinic aimed to make professional treatment affordable to pet owners.

"A lot of people are put off from taking their animal to a vet because of the costs they may have to face.

"This facility will allow people to get the treatment they need for their animal without worrying about the cost of it."

A lot of people are put off from taking their animal to a vet because of the costs they may have to face
RSPCA Manager for Wales, Kate Jones

She said that although the centre is based in Merthyr, it was designed to cover the whole south Wales valleys area.

Jean Howarth was one of the first people to use the service.

She said she often has to borrow money to pay for treatment for her dog.

"Places like this - you're quite glad of the help you can get."

People on benefits may be able to save up to a three quarters of their normal veterinary bills by using the clinic.

With one fifth of people in Merthyr Tydfil on incapacity benefit, it is hoped many more people in the area will now be able to afford treatment for their pets.

Injured bird is examined
Staff at the clinic examine an injured bird.

Molly Wilson from the RSPCA said the centre will encourage people to seek professional help for injured animals.

"People try to treat it themselves, or they get advice from people who think they know how to treat it.

"By the time the professional gets it its too late to treat it."

The clinic was funded by investment by RSPCA Cymru Wales and branches in Wales, and a donation from the Beryl Thomas Animal Welfare Trust.

Vets at the centre say they hope to treat up to 50 pets a day when it officially opens for business on Tuesday.

Dog owner did DIY amputation
09 Sep 05 |  Wales
RSPCA shock at 'extreme case'
09 Sep 05 |  Wales
Animal cruelty on the rise
30 Apr 03 |  England

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