July 30, 2013Comments are closed.RSPCA
The following is an email, recently received from a pet lover. I have removed names for privacy…
Dear Saving Pets,
I wanted to share Thomas’ story with you to hopefully make a difference and save other dogs like him.
My mother and I were foster carers for the RSPCA Yagoona shelter in Sydney. We had taken in three puppies who had found new homes, and we were very happy with the system. Then, in May this year, we got Thomas.
Thomas was the sweetest dog yet. A white Coolie puppy about 6 months old. He was blind, partially deaf, and had a broken leg (the reason we were caring for him). Our instructions were to keep him still while he recovered from the break. We could crate train him to make sure he was always still and do behavour training to keep him calm, but the main purpose was to let his leg heal.
We did as we were asked and grew to love the puppy. He sometimes cried when we left him (as all puppies do) and we found he was slow to detach from us as we were a guide in his limited sensory world. He liked when we were around making noise so he could orientate himself. After one month, he was allowed to move around more and to our delight he began exploring the house on his own. He would go into our bedrooms when we turned our backs to explore.
Then he had to have an x-ray. We took him back to the RSPCA thinking it would be a physical check-up then maybe a few more weeks in our care as his leg was much better. We were looking forward to walking him as coolies are sheep dogs and he had so much energy, keeping him still was taking its toll on him and us. It was clear he just wanted to run.
We left him at the shelter to see the vet.
The next day we got a phone call. Thomas had been diagnosed with separation anxiety and was going to be put down.
We were shocked. The RSPCA told us he was always being watched for this disorder, and since he cries when we leave and cried in the shelter he clearly had it. We said we never knew he was being watched for this. When we went through his paperwork there was no mention of it.
We told them he was gaining independence. He needed time. He hadn’t lived without a broken leg, you couldn’t tell his temperament until you let him run. Let him release his energy and be a normal dog. We asked for one more week to help rehabilitate this. We told him he was confident in our home, why couldn’t we adopt him? If he’s anxious being away from our house, why not just let him have a happy life in our house? If their only option is to kill, then we’ll take him.
They said they’d call us back.
The next day they called and said the decision was still final. We pleaded with them for over an hour to see sense. They kept saying this was a last resort they were sad to take, except every other option we offered was rebutted. We could think of dozens of other options, but they ignored us. They had spent months rehabilitating him for a broken leg and not one day rehabilitating him for his supposed separation anxiety.
The biggest shock was next.
We called back later and spoke to an assistant in the hopes we could speak to someone higher up and save Thomas. She told us Thomas had been killed earlier that day. The last time on the phone, as we begged for his life, he was already dead. The RSPCA never told us, they pretended he was still alive as we tried to bargain to save him.
This is not the prevention of cruelty. This is cruelty. This dog could have had a life with us, but they refused him life. They preferred to kill him than to allow any other intervention. It is clear to me that the RSPCA does not take death as a last resort, but as a first resort.
We will never foster care for them again. We are in grief for the lost puppy who was never given a chance and I fear for any dog in that “shelter” now.
Thanks for reading my story. I wanted to share it with you so that maybe the puppy I loved and lost will have some voice in this world. I’ve attached photos of Thomas from the time he lived with us.