Report by Saving Pets, 29 December 2011
How many pets would you expect to see saved in a year with a budget of over $12 million dollars?
$12 million dollars is a veritable fortune in animal welfare circles. From the tiniest rescue group working on a shoestring, through to the grandest private shelter; $12 million dollars should be able to save the lives of tens of thousands of pets, with some left over to put towards impoundment prevention and relationship building with the community. So news that the The Lost Dogs Home have released their annual report, showing that they this year, like previous years, recorded “revenue from continuing operations” of $12,375,271, should be a cause for celebration from pet lovers and homeless animals.
But unfortunately despite its enormous resources, the Lost Dogs Home continues to be a disaster for pets.
This week the Home is imploring the community to keep their ‘best friend safe’ over the holiday period, listing five things pet owners can do to ensure their pets aren’t spooked and lost during new years eve celebrations, and that…
… the best hope for lost, frightened animals is to be picked up by The Lost Dogs’ Home’s after-hours ambulances or a local council’s animal control officer… Sadly there is no guarantee that every pet can be reached in time, before the worst happens.
The ‘worst’ is obviously the pet being injured or killed on the street. But what are the ‘best’ outcomes for pets once they enter the Lost Dogs Home’s ‘care’?
The report shows over the 2010/11 year the outcomes for pets were as follows;
3,525 – adopted
7,407 – returned to owner
11,872 – killed (2,879 dogs, 8,993 cats)
This means for every single one of the pets the organisation processes, they make a whopping $536, regardless of the outcome for the pet. By these calculations, they make a staggering $6.3 million dollars for pets who are simply killed and their bodies incinerated.
But how can this be happening?
Local councils pay this organisation for pets collected during holiday celebrations. ‘Pet ambulances’ aren’t an altruistic effort to protect pets, but a money generating investment. Rather than pets being returned to owners as a public service, these ‘ambulances’ are simply glorified ranger vans impounding on behalf of councils, taking pets to the North Melbourne pound. It’s also worth noting they aren’t paid to per-pet returned to owner, but can hold and kill the pet and still be paid for their services.
Cats fare even worse than dogs in this purely profit-driven arrangement. Each year, local councils pay the Lost Dogs Home to actively trap unowned cats and bring them to the Home. Despite being perpetually at capacity with lost pet cats and friendly rehomable strays, the organisation chooses to take on the extra role of ‘cat slaughterhouse’, offering untame cats no option other than death. Untame cats, or those acting feral cat be killed immediately. Each cat-trapping council tender earns the organisation a yearly salary and keeps their intake numbers high, but the organisation does little to actually combat cat-overpopulation, offering just 100 discount desexing surgeries per year under the ‘Who’s for Cats’ program – while they kill close to 10,000 cats annually.
Along with council income, they also receive around $6 million dollars in bequests and donations annually, ($7.5m in donations and legacies this year). Pet lovers hoping their contributions will see pets saved, ironically supporting one of the largest killer of companion animals in the country.
With all this money being generated from lost and homeless pets, what incentive does the Lost Dogs Home have to reduce intakes and killing? None. Even as the solutions to shelter killing have been available to the animal sheltering community since the 80’sand in the popular media since 2009 they still continue to choose to squander the enormous fortune given to them by the pet loving community every year… and kill rather than save the lives of pets.
What can I do?
This section has been added to address the large public outcry & requests for people asking “what can I do?”
To lend the words of Lisa, an awesome animal advocate:
The rewards for killing are obscene. That this is accepted without screaming from the rooftops is also distressing, however most in the public domain have no idea. Yes people can stop making financial contributions to LDH but this will have minimal impact. In addition to the bequests, the bulk of their revenue comes from the very lucrative pound contracts. Losing these is what will hurt. Being front page news for their kill rates will hurt. Being held to account by those who support them will hurt. Complaining on facebook may relieve people’s frustration but it makes no difference to the animals. Invest your time wisely and write to all the councils who provide “kill” work to LDH and demand they get with the times and the No Kill movement. Contact the media and demand LDH becomes front page news. If you really want change, you need to work for it and demand change.
If you are in one of the following municipalities, then it is up to you as a ratepayer to demand change. If you are an animal lover it is up to you to let the media know this is important.
The Lost Dogs Home provide pound services for 10 councils (Melbourne, Moreland, Moonee Valley, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Hobson’s Bay, Darebin, Hume and Port Phillip).
They provide animal management services for the City of Greater Bendigo. The Home owns a property at Cranbourne west to service the Cities of Bayside, Casey, Cardinia, Frankston, Greater Dandenong and Kingston.
They are a leading organisation in providing animal management and pound services for councils. The Home hold more than 20 council contracts. (ref)