Information update 12 – News on the Bill – we are winning – PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW…….

The big news is that the Liberals, Nationals and Greens have accepted the need for a Parliamentary inquiry

• the campaign to stop the un-necessary killing of healthy animals in pounds is working because we started with no one in the NSW Parliament but Clover Moore interested in companion animal welfare and now we have the Coalition, the Greens and many Independents publicly supporting an inquiry into companion animal welfare. This is a major achievement!
• however, we still have the stumbling block of the Government MPs, and a significant stumbling block it is as they have a big majority and control the Parliament
• the Government doesn’t see the electoral benefit in pursuing the matter – from their point of view they’ve done enough with the Companion Animals Act and Pet Shop Code of Practice (see letter from Ian Macdonald – coming!)
• the need is very strong to convince individual Government MPs by personal representations from real voters in their electorates: they need to understand that it is their voters in their local community who want this to happen
• as individual Government MPs become concerned that it is an electoral issue for them (Will it change votes? Will it make a safe seat marginal? Is it diverting attention from the matters they’d like to be talking about?) then those MPs will raise the matter within their party and ask the Premier and Minister for Primary Industries what he’s doing about the issue
• ultimately it is about electoral pressure: the merits of the companion animal welfare are not seen by Ministers as having electoral impact in the same way as say roads or hospitals – the people who do care about companion animal welfare need to speak up
• an inquiry is the best outcome because it will explore the issues – it might not solve them all but it will make inroads into the knowledge and education that is needed to commence positive policy change – even the opposers to the Bill are calling for more information (although they don’t want it done in an open and honest public inquiry by independent means)
• form letters are not effective the way personal representations are – tell your MP in your own words why companion animals matter and why it is up to the Parliament to show leadership in looking for solutions to the terrible annual death toll that comes from companion animal overpopulation
the message is simple – we need an inquiry because 60,000 healthy cats and dogs are killed every year in NSW; this is needless cruelty sanctioned by the state if they choose not to even explore options for reducing this death toll
We know that the opponents to the need for positive change and the Bill are spooked and relying on increasingly drastic form letters to the Ministers – witness this recent letter that went out with very weak arguments as to why change is not necessary or even why they don’t want an inquiry. Read here… . We are very disappointed to see Sydney Dog and Cat Home and the NSW Branch of the Animal Welfare League join their ranks.

What you can do?

If you have had a positive response from your Minister – ie they have said they will support the inquiry – please write, email or phone to thank them for their positive response and that you look forward to supporting them in return.

If you have had a reply from the Premier or your Labor Minister saying that they have forwarded your message on to Minister Ian Macdonald, please write back saying something along the lines that you are disappointed with their response and that you are looking for their personal response on the issue – if they disagree with the Bill – why? And if they disagree with the call for an Inquiry- Why?

Please say that this is now an election AND VOTING issue for you.

If you have not yet written and you live in a Labor electorate – please do so now, and a personal visit with the Minister to discuss this is even better.

Guidelines for lobbying and personal visits to a Mister – download here

If you write, please write in your own words, but the core messages are:

• Every year the numbers of animals entering pounds and shelters increases – despite government efforts in Animal Welfare – ie what has been tried is not working

• Last year more than 60,000 healthy cats and dogs were killed – not acceptable

• If you work in animal rescue, or volunteer in some capacity in rescue or pounds, please tell some of your story and make it come alive for the Minister (the reality is that most Ministers have no idea what goes on in pounds and how much work rescuers have to put in)

• If they don’t agree with the Bill in its current form, then they must agree to a parliamentary inquiry where all relevant facts and information will be revealed. If not – why not? What reasons do they have?

If you are a rescue worker or pound volunteer – tell your Minister about the teriible toll you witmess every day – they don’t see it! They don’t understand it!

Please act now. Call in a favour from your neighbour, your hairdresser, your dog or cat parlour staff, everyone in your family, your friends. We must make your Labor Minister understand the depth of feeling around this subject and that the public expect action in the form of an Inquiry.
Numerous letters, emails, phone calls and visits will make this message clear. Lets have Two thousand people ask 3 friends to help with this task.

As Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop and universal activist said:

 “Do something. Do anything. Just do something”

Petition to Nathan Rees, NSW premier……

We are 70 or so short of our target of 1000 signatures to the NSW Premier. If you haven’t already done so , please sign our petition to NSW Premier Nathan Rees calling for an independent Inquiry into the NSW pet industry, and please ask any of your animal loving friends, family and colleagues to sign.
This is the last chance as we want to get the petition away this week now.

We are now on facebook…….

If you are on facebook, please join our community there!

Please stay subscribed!

We are asking your permission to keep sending this periodic information. In return our promise is that we will work hard to bring you relevant information that will help you understand what is going on and to decide how you would like to be involved in being part of the solution. And please pass the information around and get your animal loving friends on board! People power will carry the day eventually, and the animals need more people to bat for them.

Right now much of the action is NSW centric, as Clover Moore’s Animal Regulation of Sale Bill 2008 has acted as a massive catalyst for debate and action.

Please though stay tuned and involved if you live outside of NSW because progress in NSW will invariably have an impact on other States.

‘I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything. But I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do”

Edward Everett

 

 

 

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The curse of Christmas…….

“I’m a volunteer and committee member for an organisation call K9 Dog Rescue near Mandurah Western Australia. We’re fully volunteer operated and donation funded. We are currently licensed to hold 40 dogs, but we hover around the 28-30 on average.  Last year we found homes for over 700 pound dogs, and we collect from the local pounds on Mondays and Wednesdays, usually taking in 10-12 dogs a week (excluding puppies).

After Christmas, this year our office was swamped with calls from people wanting to surrender Christmas dogs. We’re talking 2 weeks afterwards. Some of the other people came and just dumped dogs on our doorstep.

One story I can tell you: There was a young idiot there one day waiting with a puppy, it was the last of a litter of 11 (obviously the runt), that he hadn’t been able to sell over Christmas obviously. He wanted us to take it. The office staff asked him if he was going to get his dog steralised now…………. “NO! I want another litter” was his reply.  

Honestly, this is what we are dealing with.”

DRP Comment: this true story just highlights the attitude of irresponsible back yard breeders

If you faced this individual, what would you say to him?

The numbers continue to increase…….. 2007-2008 NSW pound statistics available

We’ve just completed a summary of all the available pound and shelter statistics for NSW. As predicted by rescue groups, the number of animals entering pounds has increased yet again, from 118,558 in the previous year, to 126,004. Total animals killed was up from 56,531 to 63,651…..and that figure doesn’t include the greyhound population, so you can add a few thousand more to that figure. Download the summary figures here…..

It beggars belief that DPI Minister Ian MacDonald has this to say “A great deal of progress has been made recently on the issue of welfare of animals in pet shops and the government is ensuring that there will be ongoing improvements in pet breeding activities. Consequently the NSW Government does not support an inquiry into the pet industry” (Read more here…)

CEO Kristina Vesk of the Cat Protection Society says this:

 “We knew it was a disaster but looking at the numbers, the scale is just enormous.

We can’t measure how many cats were ‘dumped’ but we imagine it was considerable seeing the enormous increase in cats taken to pounds and shelters. And I hate to say it, but we think that there are people who kill kittens and cats ‘at home’ (ie not taking them to the vet to be euthanased but doing things like drowning litters of kittens).

The outcome for cats is always worse than for dogs.

From the figures, this means 39% of dogs entering pounds are euthanased versus 68% of cats. It is interesting too, that more cats are taken to RSPCA, AWL & CPS than pounds – I am not surprised. Councils seem to feel obliged to ‘deal’ with dogs (fearing the reaction around dangerous dogs etc) but often tell people that they ‘can’t do anything’ about cats.

This means that they push the ‘cat problem’, and the cost of dealing with it, onto charities. Reasons people gave for bringing cats to us and not their pound included being directed to do so by their council (rather than even telling people what their local pound was) or the pound insisting on payment of a fee that people either could not or would not pay. 

Hence we have ended up with a record number of cats that there simply weren’t homes or room for. And we ended up deficit funding just trying to manage the situation. As I said, no more. We can’t afford to act as a de facto pound for all of Sydney’s poor homeless cats. At the end of the day though, the outcome for the cats is the same. Too many cats + not enough homes = a death sentence.

 We have written to the Minister for Local Government pointing out that councils are contributing to feline overpopulation by releasing undesexed kittens from pounds (7 of 14 we surveyed do this). They include the cost of desexing in the price, but rely on people to go back some time later to the facility or a vet to have the cat desexed (typically advising this be done at 5-6 months). Too late! Those kittens can already have kittens of their own (and typically do). Early age desexing has been safely practised for more than 20 years – what are these pounds doing?

Kristina Vesk, CEO, Cat Protection Society NSW

DRP Comment: So what progress has the NSW Department of primary Industry actually made…..that will stop the killing?

What do you think of the progress Government has made this year? Should we invite Government Ministers to be the ones to make the decision as to who lives and who dies next Friday??

If you live in States outside of NSW, can you tell us what you know about the numbers in your State?

Dogs NSW agrees with call for Parliamentary inquiry………

The peak breeders group in NSW, Dogs NSW agrees with calls for a public inquiry

 Recently, they have sent this letter to all Ministers in the Legislative Assembly of NSW:

 \”Dear Member of Parliament

Why I oppose the Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill.  I as a member of Dogs NSW support a well-regulated pet industry that protects the welfare of animals and preserves the right of people to own a pet of their choice. This bill does not do that. The danger of this Bill is that it gives the appearance of solving a problem when it may actually make things worse. The proposed Bill could actually cause more unnecessary deaths of dogs and cats and drive the development of a black market in pets.”

 DRP comment:what on earth could possibly be worse than 60,000 healthy animals killed each year in NSW?? What are they thinking?

 “I support the government in the implementation of strong, enforceable codes of practice for pet shops, breeders and shelters and pounds.

 The major issue that the Bill tries to address, and is of concern for our organisation and the public, is determining a way to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats in NSW that are euthanased yearly.”

 DRP comment:And what are Dogs NSW doing about the problem? What actions have been taken so far?

 “However no credible evidence or statistics have been provided by the proponents of the Bill to substantiate its proposed solutions to the problem. 

 Urgent research to obtain accurate evidence is required. Until this information is available, policy will be made on anecdotal, emotive information that may lead to worse animal welfare outcomes.

 The euthanasia of unwanted companion animals is a complex issue. Only a range of complementary strategies can achieve the objective of reducing the euthanasia rate of unwanted cats and dogs. These strategies must be based on a sound understanding of the local situation supported by well-researched evidence for effectiveness, and adequately resourced to evaluate their effectiveness. “

 DRP comment:we agree with you exactly and that is the purpose of the Parliamentary inquiry. Thank you Dogs NSW!

“The proposed legislation is also perceived by many as simply regulating the sale of pets in pet shops. The Bill in its current form goes much further than its stated intention, setting up regulatory powers that have the potential to impact on all owners, breeders, sellers and exhibitors of dogs. The impact of the Bill on professional dog breeders is wide reaching and restrictive potentially eroding a dog owners basic rights .”

DRP comment:Ah so now we are getting to the bottom of it! – what about the 60, ooo dogs and cats killed each year? Don’t they have a say?

“This overregulation could have the reverse effect to that intended by the bill  and drive dog breeding further into unhealthy ,unregistered backyard \”puppy farm\” environments.”

 DRP comment : Dogs NSW are correct. We need far more detailed and accurate information on the pet industry which is the purpose of the Parliamentary inquiry. As we\’ve said all along, people who have nothing to hide will have no fear of an open and honest inquiry.

How do you think a detailed Inquiry will help?

“It’s not us, it’s someone else…….leave us alone….!

In many years in Europe there is a glut of tomatoes on the market and thousands of tonnes are dumped into landfill. Can you imagine if some of the farmers ran around trying to prove that it isn’t their tomatoes, but someone elses that are dumped??

Witness this message from “Freedom Kennels” to one of our readers, and our reply below ( And no, we didn’t get a reply):

From Freedom Kennels to Deborah W, December 4 , 2008

 “Afternoon,  we get a lot of emails like yours and that’s fine  – freedom of speech etc. But speech without knowledge is a sad state of affairs and as with all the other people we hear form i will offer to pay your airfare to come and visit perhaps you will be the first to do so. We don’t sell our retired dogs we desex them and find them good homes while they are young enough to enjoy a long family life. Usually they go to families that have offspring. Having had many death threats this week I am so over the mentality of some so called lovers of animals. Perhaps instead of being driven by pedigree breeders with a vested interest in putting us out of business, someone should look into their breeding practices as I have seen some rather horrible conditions when i have bought dogs to breed with.

Regards
Valda Geeves, Freedom Kennels.”

DRP reply:

“Good morning Valda

I am sorry that you are getting death threat messages – that is not anything we endorse.

 But it does show how deeply some people feel about the pet overpopulation problem and the contribution created by pet shops, back yard breeders and “mass-production” breeders such as yourselves.

 We work towards removing the causes of the over-population problem which means death for many thousands of healthy animals, probably some of yours as well.

 It is good that you desex your ‘retired dogs’ – that is responsible.  It’s the huge number of un-desexed dogs that you , and other similar kennel operations put into the market that are the problem however.

 You may be unaware that in NSW alone we manage to kill around 60,000 healthy cats and dogs a year?; across Australia the number is around a quarter of a million. It’s a disgrace.

 You would understand that it is a supply and demand issue – the demand is not there to meet the supply from operations like yours and the pet shops and internet marketing operations you serve.

In your note, you seek to deflect attention from yourselves onto the bad conditions of some of the pedigree breeders. There are some shocking situations out there, and make no mistake, we will deal with them as well.

 But my colleague’s message was about YOUR operation, so let’s stay focused on that.

 Valda, can you explain why you think every vested interest in this supply chain says: “It’s not us, it’s someone else”. The registered pedigree breeders say “It’s not us – its someone else”. The Pet shops say “It’s not us – its someone else”. And now you have joined them – ‘It’s not us!”

 I see you are offering people the opportunity to come and visit you? No doubt they would see a well run operation that satisfies the 5 basic freedoms for dogs.

 And so you should; public opinion and pressure have forced mass breeding operators to sharpen their act to the benefit of the animals. That is good.

 But the point of contacting you is not about how well you look after your animals – it’s what happens to them after they leave you.

 How many dogs do you  sell into the market? In Australia? Overseas? And do you know what happens to them after they have left you? I’ll bet you have no idea.

 How many of your dogs end up in deathrow in some pound after they have been dumped? ( I know,…… “It’s not us, it’s the pet shops who sell them to the public that should take responsibility for them, or the owners”)

Valda, let’s do a deal  – I’ll visit your operation at Freedom ( – pay my own way even!). Your side of the deal is to spend a half day at Doggy Rescue in Sydney helping to rehome some of the 40 or 50 dogs you’ll find there ( all saved by Rescue from Pounds) and then to join me at one of the pounds where we’ll organise for you to help out whilst they euthenase a half dozen healthy dogs that no one wants.

 Here is a recent picture from Doggy Rescue: Any of these yours Valda? Anyway, let me know what you think of our little deal.

 Whether you accept or not, please be comforted in the knowledge that someone else is out there clearing up the mess created by the mass breeders, backyard breeders, indiscriminate breeders and pet shops: the tax payer, the rescue workers and pound volunteers, and the euthanasia technicians and vets who do the killing.

 Yours sincerely, Deathrowpets”

 DRP comment:

Of course we never got a reply. We learnt recently that the marketing manager of Dogs NSW is enaged in a mission to ask pounds how many dogs they get that are purebreeds – we can only anticipate that it’s in an effort to be able to say “No, its not us, ……it’s someone else……”

Anyone ( that is Anyone) who breeds, or sells or markets on behalf of a breeder or seller must accept that they are part of the suppy chain in companion animals. They cannot deny that. Currently there exists an imbalance – there are too many animals for too few homes. Too many are bred – not enough homes. The main “supply side” organised groups ie PIAA, Dogs NSW, (supported byVeterinary Association of NSW and NSW Depratment of Prinmary Industries) , all say “It’s not us….”. They all complain about the Bill, complain about the call for the inquiry, but have done NOTHING we can see to sort  out the imbalance. Why is that?

What are your thoughts on this subject – their efforts to out the blame on “someone else?