Update on NSW Animals Regulation of Sale Bill 2008 and petition to Nathan Rees

We understand that Independent Minister Clover Moore will be calling for the debate in the NSW Parliament over the coming weeks. The ABC program showing tonight Thursday 1o September on detrimental dog breeding practices will stimulate more public interest in companion animal welfare and so the timing will be good from a public awareness perspective on companion animal welfare issues.

We sent our petition regarding the call for a parliamentary inquiry to Premier Nathan Rees at the end of July. Thank you to all the caring people who signed the petition. We have not had a response.

To read the letter that accompanied the petition, please click here……

DRP comment: It’s perhaps predictable that the Premier hasn’t responded – he seems to have his job at risk as his main priority right now. However, this deserves a reponse and so we are chasing up via his office.

Actions you can take: if you signed the petition,  please phone the Premier’s Department  on switchboard 02 9228 5947, ask for the Premier’s Office,,then leave a message for Nathan Rees asking for a response and asking when will the Inquiry take place and how?
If you haven’t yet contacted your own Minister to ask for support for the Bill and the Inquiry, now would be a very good time, perhaps last chance.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The 2009 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation

The 2009 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation will be held September 30 – October 02 at the Gold Coast International Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.   

We recommend this conference to you very highly – the only one of its kind in Australia. You will learn about all the recent developments and progress from representatives of each State Government and others involved in Rescue across the country.

Most importantly, you will hear the important voice of NATHAN WINOGRAD (click here for Nathan’s Bio), the author of acclaimed book “Redemption” and current Director of the No Kill Advocacy Centre.

As we wrote at length in our last DRP Update, we heard Nathan speak at the No Kill Conference in Washington in May. If you have any interest at all in the companion animal over-population and un-necessary pound killing problem in Australia, you will want to hear Nathan speak, and attend his working session

We are pleased to announce the registration and program papers for the 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation are now  available at the following link:

http://www.ndn.org.au/files/SummitPack.pdf

Nathan’s important message will likely focus Australia on the wherewithal to implement and drive an Australian No Kill journey. We anticipate that his attendance at the Conference will be an important turning point in our recognition of the need to influence all the major animal welfare charities and rescue shelters to get onto the No Kill journey here in Australia.

No Kill News – “Revisiting the No Kill Equation” – from the ‘No Kill Advocate’

“Two decades ago, the concept of a No Kill community was little more than a dream. Today, it is a reality in many cities and counties nationwide and the numbers continue to grow. And the first step is a decision, a commitment to reject kill-oriented ways of doing business. No Kill starts as an act of will. The next step involves putting in place the infrastructure to save lives.  

Following a commitment to No Kill is the need for accountability. Accountability means having clear definitions, a lifesaving plan, and protocols and procedures oriented toward preserving life. But accountability also allows, indeed requires, flexibility. Too many shelters lose sight of this principle, staying rigid with shelter protocols, believing these are engraved in stone. They are not. Protocols are important because they ensure accountability from staff. But protocols without flexibility can have the opposite effect: stifling innovation, causing lives to be needlessly lost, and allowing shelter employees who fail to save lives to hide behind a paper trail. 

The decision to end an animal’s life is an extremely serious one, and should always be treated as such. No matter how many animals a shelter kills, each and every animal is an individual, and each deserves individual consideration.

To read the rest of this article, click here……

DRP Comment

The No Kill Equation is a formula that works in a growing number of US communities. Excuses as to why “it can’t work” are now proving to be obstructionist. How long will it be before we make it work here in Australia?

Do our pounds and charity shelters treat each decision to end an animal’s life seriously? ( We do know that the RSPCA in Canberra ACT really do take this decision seriously, as do the Awl in Queensland at the Gold Coast City Pound))

 Actions you can take: write to your local Pound or Shelter senior management (That’s Council AS WELL AS private Charity Shelters such as RSPCA or AWL) with a copy of this article, and explain what No Kill is all about, urging them to 1) read the book Redemption by Nathan Winograd 2) consider the strategies in the No Kill Equation 3) attend the 3rd Summit to end companion animal overpopulation on the Gold Coast.

 Question:Is there any reason why the RSPCA and AWL, in every State,  shouldn’t show leadership in building No Kill Communities in their Shelter areas?

No Kill News – can we do this here? The proposed Companion Animal Protection Act

When we attended the No Kill Conference in Washington in May, we heard about an exciting strategy to put animal welfare at the forefront of local government strategy.

We were told that:

  • There is a major difference between “Animal Control” and “Animal Welfare”. The former protects people from animals (eg roaming, biting, nuisance) and in the main Animal Control is what Pounds and Animal Control (Rangers) are set up to do. Animal Welfare is completely different to Animal Control. The 2 don’t go together. (And when our governments speak of “animal welfare” what they often really mean is ‘Animal Control”. We need to recognise the difference.)
  • No Kill recognises that developing and maintaining a No Kill journey currently relies on the vision and commitment of a compassionate leader. The problem is that this is “person dependent”. If the leader leaves, then the Pound/Shelter can regress. It’s too dependent on the (right) individual (being at the controls).  Winograd says that there is a clear need therefore for new legislation that enshrines the rights of the animals – “we must move past the personalities and give animals the rights afforded by law “– ie legal protection for animals in the Pound/Shelter.
  • Winograd is talking about the need to introduce animal welfare laws – not more animal control legislation that does not have saving lives at its centre.

 As a consequence, the No Kill Centre has created a legislative imperative: the Companion Animal Protection Act. The legislation is part of the successful strategy to end State sanctioned killing of healthy animals in pounds and shelter. It has been known for a number of years that there are practical and economical ways to end the killing in pounds. There are increasing numbers of shelters that are taking the journey and showing that it can be done.

The strategies used, collectively called “the No Kill Equation” include:

  • Shelter accountability
  • Affordable spay/neuter
  • Rescue Group access to pound animals
  • Comprehensive adoption programs, including accessible pound hours and offsite venues
  • Medical and behaviour rehabilitation
  • PR and marketing of re-homeable animals
  • Use of volunteers and foster families
  • Socialisation programs and
  • A compassionate, hard working Pound Director who is not content to hide behind the “too many animals – too few homes” myth

Nonetheless, too many shelters are not voluntarily implementing these programs. As a result, animals are being needlessly killed. In response the No Kill Advocacy Centre has developed model legislation to help animal lovers and animal advocates achieve their goal of a no kill community. It is called the Companion Animal Protection Act of 2007.

To access the full text of the cover document and model act itself Click here 1) and click here 2)

DRP Comment:

We badly need the same initiative here in Australia. Too many of our “Animal Welare Acts” are based on legacy animal control philosophies. Are there any Government Ministers or Lawyers out there who can take this on? Write and tell us what you think!

How long will be it be before we get our Act together?

No Kill News – “how we did it – the Nevada Humane Society”

One of the most interesting sessions we attended at the 2009 Washington No Kill Conference was the session conducted by Bonney Brown, the Director of the Nevada Humane Society who described in detail the strategies they have used to dramatically increase the rehoming rate at Washoe County, Nevada. There were many simple and practical lessons to learn. Read on….

 “In early 2007, Nevada Humane Society committed to making Washoe County, Nevada into one of the safest communities for homeless dogs and cats in the nation. The results have been dramatic. Many people have asked how we have made such remarkable improvements in the county-wide save rate for dogs and cats over the past year. So we have put together the game plan we used in hopes that it will help others produce similar results in their communities”. Bonney Brown, Executive Director

 The number of dogs and cats killed in Washoe County 2007 animal shelters has declined by 51% for dogs and 52% for cats (compared to 2006). The save rate for dogs was 92% and 78% for cats and trending upward, despite a per capita intake rate that was over twice the national average and over three times that of many communities. We found new homes for 7,452 homeless dogs and cats and 578 other animals. The adoption rate increased 53% for dogs and over 84% for cats (compared to 2006).

The volunteer ranks increased from 30 to over 1,300 local citizens since expanding the volunteer program in March of 2007………..

 To access this exciting article – click here:

Quotable Extract:

“The power of words…

All of us are subtly influenced by labels, so we made changes to ensure function names and job titles reflected our mission.

The Intake Room became Admissions, Kennel Attendants became Animal Caregivers, and Office Assistants became Adoption Counsellors. On the other side, we didn’t want to hide behind euphemisms and we never want to forget the gravity of ending an animal’s life, so we stopped using the word euthanasia and began calling it killing.”

 DRP Comment:

We spoke with Bonney after her session and were surprised to learn that the Nevada Humane Society has nothing at all to do with the Humane Society of the US, as you might logically think. We were told that in the US, any organisation can set them themselves up as a charity and use the name “Humane Society” or “SPCA – Society for Prevention of Cruelty”. They have no affiliation or relation whatsoever to the National HSUS or ASPCA. There are hundreds of them across the nation! Similarly in Australia each State RSPCA and AWL are separate organisations – loosely affiliated under a national organisation. Each has different strategies, philosophies, leadership and outcomes. Whilst the RSPCA and increasingly the AWL, present themselves as “one body” the reality on the ground is different. As someone said to us once, “forget the names – they are different bodies”. For this reason, it’s important to specify which State RSPCA and which AWL we refer to when speaking about them.

DRP Comment: if you know of any Australian Shelter or Pound that has made dramatic progress in reducing the kill rate and increasing the rehoming rate, please let us know. We need to recognise those champions. Top of our list are the AWl in Queensland at the Gold Coast City Pound and the RSPCA ACT in Canberra. Who are the others – let us know!

Actions you can take:

Please distribute the Nevada County “How we did it” article far and wide, especially to Pound and Shelter staff you may know.

Letter we sent to the CEO’s of each State RSPCA organisation

We wanted to endorse the value of the CEO’s of State RSPCA’s attending the 2009 3rd Summit to end companion animal overpopulation later this month. Our focus is to ensure that they don’t miss the opportunity to hear sessions by Nathan Winograd and his message that compassionate leadership is needed as a vital ingredient to make the shift from “killing” as a matter of course to “No Kill”.

Our view is that the heads of every animal charity, and management of Council Pounds and Government departments need to hear this message.

“We are left with the view that we in Australia are far behind the modern day progress being made in the US. The fact that there were only 3 Australian attendees at this important conference – none from any charity group or government body- perhaps indicates that the No Kill movement is not receiving the attention that it deserves.

This has to change and we believe that public opinion will force that change.”

To read our letter, please click here……….

DRP comment:

We’ll be sending this letter also to the heads of the State AWL organisations. We need to drive a movement for our charity animal welfare organisations – RSPC and AWL, Cat Protection Society, in particular, to accept the challenge of adopting the No Kill equation here in Australia. If our “animal welfare” groups can’t or won’t show leadership in this critical area, why would governments and Councils? We need to make the point to the large animal welfare charities that the public will eventually place their charity monies and bequests to those organisations who actively embrace No Kill and dramatically work towards reducing the kill rates in their pounds way below where many of them are today. Why would we donate money to organisations that are killing animals at an “acceptable level” and not changing their practices to proven, tested and workable No Kill solutions?

Actions you can take: start right now- Follow up now with the CEO of your State RSPCA and AWL and ask the question- “are you or your senior managers attending the Summit to end companion animal overpopulation? If not, why not? “Tell them your donations in future will go to those  organisations who have embraced the No Kill movement.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Let us know!

Letter to Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2009, from CEO Cat Protection Society

“It comes as no surprise to learn of Ian MacDonald’s patronage of hunters. The Minister has shown scant regard for the welfare of animals, as those of us working in animal charities can attest. His $3.5 million for the Game Council compares with the $533,000 in funding he announced in April to be split between the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League, WIRES, Cat Protection Society and Domestic Animal Birth Control Co-operative Society.

The government opposes Clover Moore’s bill to reduce the suffering of cats and dogs by regulating their sale, and even  for an inquiry into the welfare of companion animals has been rejected. A minister who gives priority to working with a hunter who describes shooting of an elephant as awesome is hardly likely to care that tens of thousands of cats and dogs are killed on his watch”

Kritsina Vesk, CEO, Cat Protection Society NSW

DRP Comment:

We congratulate Kristina on posting this very relevant letter to the press.

So why does Minister MacDonald favour hunting over animal welare? Does that fact that he is a farmer himself have anything to do with this? Why is he blocking all efforts to get badly needed regulation into the pet industry?

Actions you can take: contact Minister Ian MacDonald and tell him its not on! let him know about all the problems you see out in the world of Pounds and Shelters.

But then, why would a farmer be concerned about killing animals?

Why does companion animal welfare in NSW, Victoria, Queensland,  fall under Department of “Agriculture” within Department of Primary Industries? Isn’t it time to get the welfare of our pets away from the “farming” mentality and into a more appropriate and compassionate government department? What do you think?