The national outcry and response from the national media has been huge. The RSPCA seems to have lost patience. Nothing they have said or done has been able to stem the flow of criticism.
Things have now taken a darker tone. The charity’s highly-paid lawyers have written to Jayne Shenstone of the GSR in threatening tones.
They claim that the RSPCA owns the trade mark of the acronym RSPCA “in both upper and lower case”. Part of a communication from top RSPCA commercial lawyer Amanda Gibbs states:
"In the circumstances, please provide me, by no later than 5pm today with details of how and when you acquired the RSPCA's approval and permission to use the RSPCA's registered trade marks on your website and/or any publications associated with your company. If we do not hear from you, we will have no option but to assume that you do not have any such permission. When reconsidering the content of your website and publications, please note that the protection afforded by the trade mark registration process and the Trade Marks Act 1994 effectively covers the use of the RSPCA acronym in upper and lower case."
Facebook has also been the subject of RSPCA action to try to muzzle the complaints and are removing content critical of the charity which uses the acronym “RSPCA” having received a notice that the content “infringes their copyright(s).”
Anne Kasica of the SHG said:
"We know that the RSPCA threatens journalists, defence lawyers and veterinary surgeons. However, if the state of our law is now, as the RSPCA’s highly-paid lawyers claim, that one needs permission from the RSPCA to use the acronym ‘RSPCA’ then no criticism of this political and highly-secretive ‘charity’ will ever see the light of day. The acronym ‘RSPCA’ has been in public use for years and we believe that people will keep using it. To do otherwise would mean the end of the right to comment – there would be no more cartoons in your local paper, no more columns and no more internet blogs
"We think we have the freedom to make fair comment in the UK. Have we finally lost the right to freedom of speech to those organisations, like the RSPCA, with the financial clout to bully people like Jayne Shenstone into submission?”
The SHG’s Ernest Vine, invited people to go to the German Shepherd rescue site at http://www.germanshepherdrescue.co.uk/statement-rspca.html
straight away and said:
"People should go there while they still can and see what the RSPCA did to those poor dogs.”
“Ask yourself whether this is really an issue about trademark infringement.”
“ The SHG is encouraging everyone to go to their MP or Assembly Member and raise these very serious issues. Do we really want so-called charities like the RSPCA to be completely immune from legitimate criticism?”
“We at the SHG have been demanding a full public inquiry into the RSPCA and their activities for years.”