May 8, 2013Comments are closed.RSPCA
One of the largest obstacles to shelter reform is resistance. A group may talk about wanting there to be change. They may even be able to give you a long speil about all the amazing things they’re doing – but when it comes to the crunch the killing continues. If a shelter is still maintaining high kill rates in 2013, then you know they’re experiencing an entrenched case of resistance.
But sometimes this resistance extends to actively trying to whitewash any perceived issues. An organsation knows there is a problem, but they are not interested in changing the policies and procedures which lead to high kill rates. So they have to put a new spin on it.
The RSPCA South Australia quite boldly took this approach in their 2009/10 Annual Report proclaiming;
… we still achieved a 99% adoption rate (for dogs), which is a magnificent achievement.
In the same year, the organsation killed 1,233 dogs. Or 35% of unclaimed intakes. Or another way – 1 in every 3 dogs who needed rescue were killed.
By simply labelling certain dogs ‘unadoptable’ and dropping them off the count – suddenly the shelter is achieving a 99% save rate. Much more palatable to the public and without any extra effort on behalf of staff.
Or as someone in PR may say – TAA DAAA!
RSPCA NSW spokesperson Lukas Picton was featured for a recent photo spread for DNA Magazine. When asked the question ‘Where do the dogs at the RSPCA come from?’ he responds in part;
One of the biggest misconceptions about the RSPCA is that there is a time limit on how long we keep animals before they’re put to sleep. This isn’t true. There is no death row at the RSPCA. All animals that are placed up for adoption stay with us until they find a new home.
That’s a 100% save rate! Wow we all said in unison!
Except obviously, this again isn’t true. If we talk about the RSPCA just in NSW, they killed 14,393 pets, or 53% of unclaimed dogs and cats.
There is no death row at the RSPCA. Except that there is.
Precious was a senior boxer suffering from ‘recurrent ear infections’.
After being used for a fundraising drive and spending three months in RSPCA NSW care she was killed, even though rescue groups were standing by ready to offer her any additional treatment she may have needed.
Said the RSPCA NSW of working with rescues;
“We don’t usually release animals to rescue groups, but there is no law that says we have to.”
Reg (the bulldog in the image below)…
Max(the black pointer in this video)…
… was killed at RSPCA Rutherford last year, for failing their ‘temperament test’, despite his owner trying to claim him, and him wearing a rescue group tag with phone number – and the group being willing to collect him and save his life.
Precious, Reg and Max are all victims of the ‘no death row’ at the RSPCA NSW.
4,862 dogs last year and 9,531 cats met the same fate last year – killed by the RSPCA NSW.
If you believe the killing must end – consider joining the ‘Justice for Max’ rally. It will be held just outside of Newcastle, in Morpeth.
Hunter animal lovers will stage a protest against the number of animals being killed by RSPCA NSW – at the same time the RSPCA holds its annual fund-raiser at Morpeth.
More than 100 people are expected to attend the Justice4Max Vigil at Morpeth Common from 9.30am on May 19 – just metres away from where the RSPCA NSW will host its popular Million Paws Walk.
The protesters are concerned by the number of dogs and cats euthanised by RSPCA NSW – 50.6 per cent of the total it took into its shelters, according to the organisation’s own figures for 2011-2012.
Aberdare resident David Atwell, the vice president for the Society of Companion Animal Rescuers, said this was an unacceptable situation.
“Even though the RSPCA claim that they’re here for the animals, they end up killing more companion animals than they save.
“Last year alone they killed around 14,500 cats and dogs from about 28,000 in their care. This amounts to an overall kill ratio of 50.6 per cent.
“This is unacceptable given pounds such as Muswellbrook and Wyong, which co-operate with rescue groups, have kill rates of just 8 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
“This event is about educating the public that there is a better way, that there are alternatives. You can’t claim you’re here for the animals when you destroy 15,000 of them.”
But RSPCA NSW chief executive officer Steve Coleman has defended the organisation’s actions: “We don’t take euthanasia lightly, and we don’t kill healthy animals unnecessarily.”
“The RSPCA’s annual euthanasia statistics may appear high, but at closer glance the figures are quite telling,” he said.
“Of the 4862 dogs euthanised by RSPCA NSW last financial year, 62 per cent were put down due to behavioural reasons; nearly 35 per cent were humanely euthanised due to disease and other medical conditions.
“It would be unethical and socially irresponsible to re-home many of the animals that come through our doors.
“Even still, the RSPCA continues to improve, invest and innovate in order to increase re-homing and reduce euthanasia statistics.”
One of those animals killed last financial year was the mascot of the Justice4Max group – a German short-haired pointer named Max.
He was impounded by the Rutherford shelter and euthanised after failing the RSPCA’s behavioural test – an act which was surrounded by controversy as Mr Atwell said he was a “typical normal family dog” whose owner had been trying to reclaim him at the time.
One of Max’s foster carers from Dog Rescue Newcastle will speak at the vigil, along with Mr Atwell and Anne Greenway from Lawyers for Companion Animals.
For more information, visit the Justice for Max facebook page.