Calls for ‘no kill’ policy to save thousands of RSPCA animals

Herald Sun, Tory Shepherd, 25 Sept 2012

A HIGH “kill rate” in animal shelters that sees tens of thousands of dogs and cats euthanased every year has sparked fresh calls for a “no kill” policy.

Of the 67,573 dogs that ended up at the RSPCA in 2010-11, 19,583 (about one in three) were put down. Most cats that end up at the RSPCA are killed – 37,177 out of 64,617. Many of these animals are healthy and the figures do not include euthanasia at vets or other shelters.

The RSPCA says it is a “highly complex” problem, with responsible ownership an important part of the solution. Animal welfare advocates and others blame puppy farms for the oversupply of animals, stretched resources in shelters, the out-of-control feral cat problem and negligent owners. Some of them will appear on SBS’s Insight tonight to discuss the problem. 

The RSPCA’s Scientific Officer (Companion Animals), Dr Jade Norris, told news.com.au that the RSPCA aimed to re-home “all suitable animals in its care”.

“(That) is what RSPCA strives for and hopes for,” Dr Norris said.

“Animals may be unsuitable for adoption due to health, behavioural or legislative reasons.

“RSPCA Australia believes that fit and healthy companion animals that are suitable for adoption should not be euthanased. The RSPCA nevertheless reluctantly accepts that in certain circumstances such euthanasia is necessary, in particular where there is a long-term shortage of appropriate homes for companion animals.”

Nathan Barnes, a former RSPCA employee who is now an animal body language interpreter and assessor, will tell the program tonight that stressed out dogs can fail behavioural tests that judge them harshly for small things such as hesitating when meeting someone, or reacting negatively to loud noises.

The RSPCA figures show 55 per cent of dogs are euthanased for behavioural reasons.

Dr Norris said animals go through a detailed observation and assessment program to check whether their behaviour is good enough for them to go to a new home.

The RSPCA’s NSW chief Steve Coleman said things were getting better.

“It’s already been acknowledged, cats in Australia are really difficult, owned, semi-owned, feral. It’s really difficult. But we have gotten our euthanasia stats down … and they’ve been coming down for the last five years,” Mr Coleman said.

“If someone was able to do the analysis they are on the way down, as are the overall incoming populations of dogs and cats.”

The national statistics show a reduction of about 3 per cent in dog euthanasia over five years, and almost 4 per cent for cats.

Meanwhile, Pet Rescue – an online not-for-profit organisation that connects homeless animals with new owners – is leading the call for a “no kill” policy.

They say all animals deserve a second chance and say they have found new homes for 140,000 animals.

Pet Rescue Director Michelle Williamson said they want an end to “killing for convenience, killing for space, killing because we haven’t got time or we don’t want to invest in rehabilitation”.

Ms Williamson also says the animal charities such as the RSPCA are some of the richest in Australia and questioned where all the money was going if not to save lives.

Dr Norris responded: “In addition to our extensive shelter work, we operate veterinary clinics and inspectorates which investigate animal cruelty complaints. We also provide education programs, run campaigns and lobby for improved animal welfare policy.”

Pet Rescue itself has been criticised for being unrealistic, with others calling for a “low kill” instead of a “no kill” policy.

Original here

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7 Comments

Filed under No Kill, RSPCA

7 responses to “Calls for ‘no kill’ policy to save thousands of RSPCA animals

  1. Mychilli

    Having seen some of the behavioral assessments carried out, I am quite sure my quiet, happy, loving, normal dogs would fail them too. My latest rescue had a lot of issues that would no doubt have seen him end in the 55%, but he is now a fantastic, well-adjusted dog. And I have absolutely no formal experience with dogs; just common sense and love, time and care.
    And I agree about concerns about where the RSPCA money goes to, particularly in WA.

  2. Flann janet

    In all this debate nobly has included the 24,000 greyhounds that got ton rid of each year0peter@greyhoundreshcue.com.au

  3. Sorry about the spelling mistakes, just getting used to this new toy.

  4. Janet, how about asking SBS Insight to do an investigation into the Greyhound Industry. If enough of us do that, they just might. The spotlight needs to be turned on this cruel industry. As you know, Greyhounds are the most gentle trusting souls and are bred and disposed off in great numbers, all for man’s amusement. It’s the same with horse racing. Man uses and abuses other creatures. Will it ever stop?

  5. Jan Baker

    While there are dogs & cats available for sale from back yard breeders & puppy farmers….there will always be cruelty….there are people out there that don’t understand how to treat an animal & if it doesn’t come up to their expectations, then they get rid of it….dump or surrender or dispose of them……the authorities need to act sooner rather than later to help these animals….the RSPCA IMO do not show their authority by going into places & taking away these animals that are stuck in shocking conditions & just left there to produce puppies then just die a terrible death…..there would be plenty of rescue people who would go into these places & help save these dogs from a life of horror…

  6. Janet, Make your comments regarding Greyhounds on the SBS Insight Blog – http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/yoursay/501/The-Tail-End?fb_comment_id=fbc_525663134116768_6543628_525679797448435#f358bc15e8d860e . I think the producers will read it because they would want feedback.

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