Maitland Mercury; SAM NORRIS; July 16
The extent of the number of dogs and cats destroyed at the RSPCA Rutherford facility is under reported, according to the Society of Companion Animal Rescuers.
SOCARES’ investigations point to 227 cats and dogs from the Maitland area that were destroyed in the 2011-12 period.
Of the 671 pets seized, that equates to a kill rate of 33.8 per cent.
Maitland City Council didn’t dispute the data but attributed the discrepancy to different reporting methods.
Council said the SOCARES figures subtracted the number of animals returned to owners from the total number of pets impounded, while RSPCA did not.
SOCARES vice-president David Atwell disputed council’s claim and was adamant the kill rates were under reported.
“The difference between the figures announced by the RSPCA, compared to the figures SOCARES has gathered directly from the four councils involved is deeply worrying,” he said. “I have no doubt whatsoever as to the accuracy of the information we have got.”
SOCARES has campaigned for better relationships between animal rescuers and the RSPCA to rehome more cats and dogs as has been achieved at Muswellbrook, Gosford and Wyong, which have kill rates of 8, 6 and 12 per cent respectively.
“Given all the neighbouring councils that co-operate with rescue groups achieve far lower kill rates, I think it is fair to say something is clearly wrong at RSPCA Rutherford,” Mr Atwell said.
A Maitland council spokesman said there was no opposition to animal rescuers.
“We encourage the RSPCA to have strong working relationships with all recognised groups that are able to assist with these goals.”
SOCARES figures for Cessnock, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle are 49 per cent, 45 per cent and 46.1 per cent respectively.