RSPCA services under threat

The Satellite, Ipswich News; Kiri Ten Dolle | 22nd May 2012

SOME services of Queensland’s largest and oldest animal welfare centre could be “coming to a head” if the organisation doesn’t receive more help and funds soon.

The Wacol-based RSPCA is being forced to discuss the future of some of its programs early next month.

RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty said, while the organisation didn’t want to cut back on investment in some of its operations, it was “struggling” because of rising overhead costs and the limited ability to employ more staff.

“We might have to cut back on some services like the Pets in Crisis service,” he said.

“We are going to be sitting down in early June when we get the figures in and take a look at all our services and see what we can cut back on.

“We don’t want to but we will have to wait and see.”

While raising public awareness has been the foundation of the RSPCA, Mr Beatty said the organisation was receiving more calls for assistance as more people learned about the welfare centre.

“In our call centre we are getting around 600 calls a day,” he said.

“Each call lasts about seven minutes and when you have only got three to four staff to deal with them it gets difficult.”

RSPCA Qld must raise $30 million a year to stay afloat.

“We are waiting to see what effect the carbon tax will have,” Mr Beatty said.

“Things like electricity costs are increasing. Here at Wacol the air conditioning bill is 10 times the amount of what it was at Fairfield.”

One of the services which could receive cutbacks is the Pets in Crisis program.

The program provides shelter for pets owned by victims of domestic violence.

And although safe for now, another service under increasing pressure is the organisation’s Wildlife Care Centre.

RSPCA Qld Wildlife Veterinarian Tania Bishop said the service had received 500 rescue calls this month – 100 calls up from this time last year.

Just last week the RSPCA rescued a ring-tail possum that had its head stomped on and a swamp wallaby which was shot in a suburban street of Corinda.

They are just two of the latest victims in a reported spike in animal cruelty.

In a bid to raise more money, the RSPCA is now counting on its inaugural Ruff Rider 500 fundraiser.

RSPCA Queensland Executive Manager Michael Hornby said money raised from the upcoming event would go towards the construction of a new education discovery centre at Wacol.

“The new centre will be for humane education and teaching the generation of people to be responsible pet owners,” he said.

Mr Hornby said reports of animal cruelty fluctuated, but lately the trend was not heading downwards.

The RSPCA had pitched funding requests to the Federal Government to help build the $1.2 million education centre and hoped several planned fundraisers for later in the year would enable them to match some of those dollars to get construction under way.

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer at the RSPCA phone 3426 9999.

Original here

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