By Tim Vollmer and Vikki Campion ; From: The Daily Telegraph ; October 15, 2009 1:01AM
THEY are the cutest animals in the most depressing surroundings – and it is costing their lives.
Ugly animal shelters are driving away potential new owners for dumped and stray animals, forcing the euthanasia of thousands each year, according to the RSPCA.
But now the animal welfare group is fighting back with a radical shift from the traditional large-scale shelter format by launching a retail outlet to compete with customer-friendly commercial pet stores.
The shop at Rouse Hill town centre, in Sydney’s booming northwest, is a direct response to record animal euthanasia rates, with about 20,000 animals put down in NSW last financial year – a number the RSPCA said is “way too high”.
The 135-year-old organisation admitted the format of their existing shelters was part of the problem, driving potential customers away and carrying a stigma that if an animal is in a shelter there must be something wrong with it.
The store, to open in December, aims to meet the festive season surge in unwanted pets, many put down because shelters and foster carers are overwhelmed.
Rouse Hill town centre was selected for the pilot because of its pet-friendly policies that welcome pets to wander the complex.
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