RSPCA Queensland working on own pet shops to rehome rescue animals

Whilst on a recent trip to Rockhampton, we were on the search for a bag of Hills Science Diet (not for us, for our Boxer Tia), when we came across the RSPCA own pet shop. Really nice retail operation – bright, clean, lots of product, friendly helpful staff, but best of all, well placed open pens near the front for doggies and a great cat enclosure – all designed to help rehome needy shelter animals. We like the concept.

 Says RSPCA Queesnland CEO Mark Townend:

 “The strategy behind the store is that Shelters are the worst places animals could be – they have disease and herd health issues, they are no good for the animal’s behaviour nor for humans. Often a very sad and depressing place to visit. In Queensland I therefore have no intention of building new RSPCA Shelters, (certainly we will replace or renew the ones we have but no additions). There will be some new Pounds maybe built by local Governments for animal control, but I even see these as limited.

With the use of the internet and some smart technology I believe a good well organised foster network to house the animals is ideal. The animals can be marketed for rehoming through the internet with some retail type space, e.g. Rocky Pet shop, where people can meet and greet the animals in a place that’s easy and pleasant for them to get to. Unfortunately the public are essentially “lazy”, and often all that happens if they have to travel too far, otherwise good pet owners will just source an animal from a pet shop or some other convenient source that more than likely isn’t desexed etc. So my aim is to ensure these establishments, whether they are RSPCA Pet shops, private pet shops or vet clinics, rehome RSPCA desexed animals. (Of course we would make sure all the establishments meet certain standards.)

We have our own retail rehoming places at Rockhampton and Springwood now, with a new one opening on the Gold Coast in late October.

We have a new Outreach coordinator starting in a couple of weeks who will be rolling this program out more aggressively now we have tried it in a number of different locations and circumstances to get the processes right.”

DRP comment:

From March 1 to September 14th, this initiative  has given 96 cats and dogs a new home. Thats 96 families who didn’t go to a traditional puppy /kitten selling pet shop.

The move to find homes for homeless pets using retail space in the public areas of towns and cities, additionally including established ethical pet shops, is clearly increasing. In Alice Springs recently we spoke to a pet shop owner who told us that they regularly took on kittens given to them by the public (accidental pregnancies), but they never pay a cent to the provider – they see this as a way of getting homes for the animals. (hey, how about giving the provider a voucher for reduced cost desexing sponsored by a local vet?). This pet shop owner told us they are about to start a trial to rehome homeless pets working with the RSPCA NT. Way to go! We say!

We can’t help but think that its an excellent way to get “orphaned pets” out into retail land where people are happier to shop than traditional pounds or shelters. Tell us what you think of this initiative! Tell us about similar initiatives in your local area!

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5 thoughts on “RSPCA Queensland working on own pet shops to rehome rescue animals

  1. becci dawson October 21, 2009 / 2:57 pm

    How does this approach address impulse buyers who will just dump the animals when the responsibility becomes to much .
    Pet shop staff have no training in an animals long term welfare , are these animals all desexed before sale ?
    How does this discourage backyarders from producing pups/ kittens when all it does is gives an alternative to dumping them in a other totally unsuitable place .
    Websites and other forms of advertising for the rescue and rehoming of desexed unwanted pets through a suitable organisation who can screen suitable homes is one thing ..this how ever is far from that.

  2. Debbie Cook October 21, 2009 / 5:19 pm

    I think encouraging the public to rehome animals, rather than seek out a breeder or puppy definately makes this worthwhile! It should also encourage responsible pet ownership as it puts abandoned animals in the spotlight.

  3. Mark Townend October 22, 2009 / 10:26 am

    There has been comments on the blog concerning our outreach program and I’d like to explain the process. Our aim is to get undesexed animals from breeders out of pet shops and replace them with desexed RSPCA animals.

    The animals are adopted by fully trained RSPCA staff or volunteers with all the normal conditions and only passing the normal adoption criteria. The animals are sold at normal RSPCA prices with ALL the adoption fees cominmg to the RSPCA.

    We aim to increase the locations 10 fold in the next 12 months so we can get more of our animals rehomed rather than those being supplied through puppyfarms or breeders that are undesexed and contribute to the future problems. Impulse buy is actually a bit of a falicy these days, sure it was relevant when there was no questioning or criteria to meet and animals were sold for under $20 but with animals now $100’s of dollars and criteria needed to be met this is rarely a risk. We are actually doing followup research with Queensland University post adoption

  4. deathrowpets October 22, 2009 / 9:03 pm

    The popular wisdon as a result of Nathan Winograd and Mike Arm’s visit to Australia is that the “rescue” community need to become a far more credible and professional competition to pet shops and rogue backyard breeders. I feel that if a person wants a pure breed animal, that is their right – try the shelters first through Pet Rescue or directly, and the rescue group for that breed and then find a reputable breeder as a second resort.

    The advice was to stop calling them “rescue animals” – use more freindly and positive language like “rehomable pet” or “orphaned pet”. Can we start to rename “Rescue” Groups as “Rehoming” Groups??

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