Puppy farming – an expose by ABC Radio National

Hundreds of thousands of puppies are born every year, and many eventually end up in pounds, where most have to be put down. The vicious cycle involves unregulated breeders, pet stores, dog rescuers — and the buyers who take in a puppy without thinking it through, then dump it. Reporter: Hagar Cohen.

To access this radio interview, click here….

DRP Comment: this is exceptional journalism. Hagar Cohen has done a first class job to let puppy farmers, irresponsible breeders, pet shop owners, PIAA Director Bob Croucher and plain rude Wellington Council (who wont stop puppy farming on their patch) Councillors from digging a huge hole to dig themselves into.

Grab a cup of coffee as this is a terrific 30 minute + report.

Actions you can take:

The breeder, Mary Papalia who doesn’t believe in desexing can be contacted on www.genuinecanine.com.au

Please forward this report to as many people as you can:

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2009/2752846.htm

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Proof that pet shops sell puppy mill animals

The CEO of the Pet Shop Industry Association of Australia, Joanne Sillince, constantly claims that “pet shops never sell puppy mill animals”.

We have proof that this is mis-information (ie a lie).

We were recently sent these documents that show categorically that pet shops like: Toucan Pets in Adelaide, Pet City in Perth, Pets World in Sydney, Pet Land in Canberra and many others are buying their puppies from ACA Breeders (Now Banksia Puppies) in Victoria, one of the largest puppy mill sproducing over 2,500 puppies a year into the market. Download these 3 documents here: Doc1 ;    doc2;      Doc3

DRP Comment: it suits the Pet Shop Industry Association to have the public believe that pet shop puppies and kittens come from ‘responsible sources’. The truth is far different. They buy from mass producers (ie puppy and kitten mills) and from backyard breeders. We overheard a conversation in  a pet shop in Townsville recently . The store manager said to the backyard breeder “As this pup has a hernia, I’ll have to sell it as a sale item”.

Actions you can take

Contact the pet shops concerned and register your objections to their selling animal obtained from a large puppy mill. Their phone numbers are on the documents that you can download above.

If you have any information about the source of animals for pet shops, please let us know!

News from WA – cat desexing set to become mandatory, and some terrific ideas from Cat Haven

Cat Haven reports that the WA State Government is looking at introducing a bill later this year for compulsory sterilisation of cats and kittens, together with compulsory micrchipping. When the Premier, Colin Barnett attended the annual wet nose day last November, he made the address that mandatory sterilisation was needed to help solve the problem of the number of cats and kittens going through Cat Haven’s doors each year, particularly since 68% were euthenased.

Interview with Roz Robinson, Operations Manager, Cat Haven, Perth

DRP: How did this Bill come about?

RR: “The Desexing debate really came to the fore when Premier Colin Barnett opened Cat Haven’s annual open day in late 2008. He was asked by the media who were in attendance, what he thought about compulsory cat sterilisation, and he said he agreed with it. From there, he referred it to one of his MP’s Joe Francis, to draft the bill.  Joe is currently working on it, and is hoping to get bi-partisan approval from all parties before the bill is raised in Parliament. We are hoping it will introduced early in 2010.”

DRP: What will this mean for Cat Haven?

RR: “ For us, we have a basis to work from. It won’t fix the whole cat overpopulation issue, but it will mean, that any kitten of a certain age, (still be worked out) will have to be desexed, whether it’s from a shelter, pet shop, or free from a newspaper. Pet Shops that don’t include sterilisation as part of the sale of kittens, are a major contributor to the over-supply of kittens.”

DRP : what does Cat Haven think about TNR in the Australian context?

RR:“Cat Haven doesn’t support TNR in WA. We believe, that people should start to take ownership of a stray that they have been feeding, bite the bullet and call it their cat. For us, some of the issues are :-

  • What if the person supplying the food source moves on
  • What if the cat gets sick or injured and in need of treatment-once a cat has been trapped, it is more than likely to be trap shy, and impossible to trap again
  • Potential FIV (Feline Aids)

 Note 1: We also heard that the City of Joondalup has recently passed a mandatory sterilisation law that will be implemented shortly. It was exciting for us to hear that individual Councils CAN pass mandatory desexing laws, without State wide legislation

Note 2: Did you know that in Perth, NO COUNCIL will take in cats? In addition, the RSPCA in WA “handball” the majority of cats that come their way to Cat Haven. This has resulted in Cat Haven needing to take in over 9,000 cats per year! We learnt that Cat Haven has had to bear the brunt of the cat explosion over past years, and yet receives ZERO in any Council funding.

DRP Comment: Roz Robinson, the Operations Manager at Cat Haven made an important presentation at the Summit to end pet over-population earlier this year. You can download this paper here.

It contains simple yet important strategies that Cat Haven are now adopting to increase their rehoming rates. One in particular we like – contacting all the ‘free to a good home” ads for cats in the local papers and offering to take the kittens providing the owners get their female desexed. They also managed to get some of the local Councillors into witness a killing of a cat and kitten, and as Roz says “they left white and shocked. No amount of statistics could have the impact of what they witnessed. A visit speaks a thousand words” And one of those Councils is now introducing its own cat laws.

It seems that Cat Haven has now said “enough is enough”.  Read this important paper here, and pass it around to as many as you can.

Cat Haven: http://www.cathaven.com.au. Sign up to receive Cat Havens regular and informative Newsletter, Cat Chat

DRP Comment: it seems that Cat Haven have now said “enough is enough” and have come up with some clever and practical strategies to turn the situation around’. Congratulations to Roz and Cat Haven for their efforts.

Actions you can take: Download this important paper here and distribute it far and wide. Take some of the strategies to your own local shelter or Council. Let us know how you get on!

What are your thoughts on Cat Haven’s Strategies and successes?

Do you live in WA? Please send us your local news!

News from Victoria – we are 30 years behind; it’s now time to stop the (Lost Dogs Home) shame.

By Kae Norman

“When I spoke with Nathan Winograd, Founder of the No Kill Solutions that pounds and shelters can implement more to save more animals in facilities, I asked him “How far behind do you think Australia is?”  He replied, “You’re in 1976.”  When I asked Mike Arms, CEO of the Helen Woodward Centre, a no Kill Centre,  in the US the same question he said, “About 30 years.”

Two experts.  Same answer.  So the best thing was to have a look at what was actually out there.  And indeed there are ‘best practice’ Charities, supported by the people.  The Dogs Trust UK and the Battersea Dogs Home both in the UK are remarkable. 

Please check the link for The Battersea Dogs Home http://www.battersea.org.uk/

You will see foster care programs and all sorts of proactive measures taken to help rehome animals.

The Dogs Trust UK has a fantastic Virtual Tour of one of their facilities.  Please check it out.  It will make you jump for joy there are such places! http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/

Not only do they have outreach programs and foster programs, they also aid animals internationally.  They are transparent in all facets, including their focus on rehoming animals.  Their mission statement says it all:

“We believe no healthy dog should ever be destroyed” 

You have to be happy with that!  So what else is out there?  Ah yes, Best Friends in the USA.  Some of you might have heard of “Dogtown” on Pay TV?  Yes, that is Best Friends.  When Cyclone Katrina hit, Best Friends galvanized thousands to retrieve SIX THOUSAND animals from ravaged New Orleans.  Months later, they reunited pets with their owners, rehomed others who were not reclaimed, and were left with 13 dogs out of all the animals saved.  What did they do?  They built them their own home at Best Friends where they will live out their days happily.  If you have a spare hour or two, have a look at the amazing Best Friends Website http://www.bestfriends.org/

Let’s go back to the USA and have a look at the San Francisco SPCA like our RSPCA which started this whole journey nearly 25 years ago.  They have the most amazing work with outreach programs, open late hours, everything is geared towards rehoming an animal. http://www.sfspca.org/

And what about in the mid west?  Yes you have those turning towards the no kill style of sheltering and what do we find?  The Animal Ark no kill Shelter. http://www.animalarkshelter.org/

So where is Victoria in all of this and how do we compare? 

Roughly 22 of the 29 councils contract with either the RSPCA in Burwood or the Lost Dogs Home in Nth. Melbourne.  The Lost Dogs Home is the LARGEST animal Pound in Australia, taking in more than 20,000 every year. 

After sitting at the AWL Conference to End Pet Overpopulation, Lost Dogs Home Shelter Manager and staff sat in the front row and listened to Nathan Winograd. 

One has to ask: did they find anything useful to take back to their facility which has no outreach program, no foster care program, no off site adoption days, closes early on weekdays and stays open for only 1/2 a day on busy adoption days (Sat & Sun), not to mention their supposed Kill rate of 33%? 

The RSPCA ACT under Michael Linke now boasts a kill rate of 8%.  Yes a 92% rehoming rate.  With fostering, 6 full time employed trainers for dogs, and not using the excuse they are full and therefore must kill, their ACT facility is now thriving.  When Michael entered the RSPCA ACT it was weeks away from bankruptcy.  Now, it is making healthy profits AND saving more lives than ever. 

So WHAT is the Lost Dogs Home doing?

According to the article from Sean Trinner, Co-Founder and Director, Pareto Works, The Lost Dogs Home have a massive 12 million dollars surplus. (article below)  Meanwhile they have a 33% kill rate, no foster carer program, no volunteers (read unpaid labour), no outreach programs, no off site adoption days, no lengthening of hours to help the turnover of animals in their facility. 

Yet plans are being made, according to their site for a sick & injured facility, when they already have a vet clinic on site and the Lort Smith Animal Hospital two minutes away.  An education and training facility?  Why is all of this when there is no attempt to actively rehome today’s animals by the basic outlines below? 

 The rise and rise of The Lost Dogs’ Home.

“In the face of constant rising costs and a climate of economic uncertainty many CEO’s and boards are asking ‘is direct marketing worth the effort?’

In 2003, The Lost Dogs’ Home faced imminent closure from an unprecedented financial crisis. Now six years on they find themselves with a 12 million dollar surplus and annual revenue 10x greater than then. And right now they are smiling as they reap the rewards of cheap media in 2009.” 

So the question is this?

Why is the Lost Dogs Home NOT willing to keep up with the times?  It cannot be a matter of money. 

And are they being transparent enough?  Why are all the impounded dogs covered up so the general public cannot see them?  Why are you not allowed to take a photo of a dog in their pound? 

Why are there less than 20 dogs on their website up for adoption yet they are the LARGEST FACILITY and take in roughly 1,000 dogs a month?  Why are the sheltering techniques still matched to twenty years ago when there are so obviously more up to date Sheltering practices taking place around the world?

Victorians need to be told. 

This is the biggest disgrace that needs to be changed.  There are no excuses that they do not understand, nor that they don’t have the money to do the changes.  While there is never a ‘one size fits all’ that will work with every community wishing to help animals, there are a series of programs that are the basic requirements to how a modern pound or shelter should be operating regardless of location or size. 

This is what they were CREATED to do, yet they have become the killing fields for millions.  Animals go in, bodies come out in bags. 

And the pet lovers amongst us are sick of it.

There are Mandatory programs which must be followed, no excuses.

  • The most important is a compassionate Director with a focus on saving lives.
  • High volume, Low cost desexing programs
  • A comprehensive fostering program for animals irrespective of age (young, old,) or those needing rehabilitation from surgery or injury
  • Off site adoption programs. (How many hate visiting pounds?)  How many would visit dogs avail for adoption in a park??
  • Transparent PR, marketing and community outreach programs to support the Pound/Shelter
  • Working with Rescue instead of killing adoptable animals.
  • Volunteer programs which get the community involved and passionate about animals
  • Proactive redemption/stray collection strategies.

If you think the Lost Dogs Home are doing all of these things above, then read no further.

If you think they need to implement these procedures as soon as possible and start saving more lives then read on!

These aren’t unreasonable requests; they’re not complicated or magic. They’re what Cahrity shelters were created to do. In fact, this is what they community have always thought they were doing. Now they’ve found out some organisations are nothing more than a ‘garbage’ processing plant – pets go in – bodies come out in barrels.

And the pet loving public won’t stand for it.

To find out more:

“Lost Dogs Home to cut killing rate” : click here

“Animal rights zealots to storm Lost Dogs Home” : Click here

Visit  the wall at : Lost Dogs Hope

Visit Lost Dogs Home Exposed : click here

 

Actions you can take:

Write a letter to General Manager Graeme Smith, along with his Board of Directors

Mr. John Allen,  Dr. Andrew Tribe, Dr. Keith Farfor, Mr. Brian Walsh, Ms. Dorothy McGuiness, Ms. Jenny Scovell, Ms. Margaret Crossley.

All can be addressed to the Board of Directors, The Lost Dogs Home, 2 Gracie Street, Nth Melbourne 3051.

Or have you had experience with the Lost Dogs Home you wish to share with us?  Again, please email us.

Or you contact the Lost Dogs Home through their website at http://www.dogshome.com/content/contact-details

If you feel uninformed about the Lost Dogs Home we request that you take a trip into Nth Melbourne and view the facilities yourself.  We would love to hear what you think, so please email us on rescued1@bigpond.net.au  please make sure you leave us with your full name, address and contact details. 

Sign the petition here.

DRP Comment: we applaud Kae Norman, founder of Rescued with Love, for making this information about the Lost Dogs Home public.  We know that there are other hi profile Charity shelter organisations that are happy to plead poor and take in the public’s money bequests and donations. We have no problem with that BUT they must spend the money on strategies that create a no kill outcome. A 60% rehoming rate today is just not good enough. Do it fast. Today there is NO EXCUSE. We have no problem with them taking in millions from the public via ‘happy days’, TV programs that tug at the heartstrings, and requests for “leave us in your will”…….but if they are mis-spending that money (eg  MBA courses paid for by public donation monies, for 2 of their Directors at about $80,000???) , and animals are dying un-necessarily, then listen up, because the public will vote with their wallets…….

Fantastic news from the 3rd Summit to end companion animal over-population – “getting to zero”

One of the most significant and exciting papers to come out of the Summit that took place on the Gold Coast this year was the contribution by the Animal Welfare League Queensland who are “close to zero” in their efforts to stop the killing of pound animals in Gold Coast City. (Remember that the AWL Queensland is a different organisation to the AWL NSW, who didn’t even send a single participant to this important Summit).

“We are getting closer and closer. Over the past 7 years, AWL Queensland has been focussed on developing a comprehensive sustainable Community Change Model which is proving successful in significantly reducing the numbers of incoming abandoned animals and the numbers euthenased in Gold Coast City.

Our major goal is to achieve zero ”euthenasia” (DRP note : ie ‘killing’) for all stray and surrendered healthy and treatable cats and dogs (ie at least 90% of all stray and surrendered cats and dogs) in Gold Coast City.”

To read this amazing and exciting story, click here to download the document.

DRP comment:

AWL Queensland and Gold Coast City are to be congratulated for this incredible effort, and indeed for documenting their success process into the “AWL Queensland Community Model”.

It’s a model that should be replicated all round the country, and started as quickly as possible. If Gold Coast City and AWL Queensland can do it – why not elsewhere?

As  Joy Verrinder says: “By sharing our successes and strengths, we can achieve success in every community around Australia”

And what a day that will be!

Note: to be fair, we know that RSPCA ACT are also well on the way in this No Kill Journey, but the other RSPCA’s and AWL’s around the country need a wake-up call to get on the No Kill Journey

Actions you can take

Please download the paper and digest the contents. Please copy it and send it to as many people you believe who need to see the information: Councils, heads and staff of Pounds and Shelters, Council Rangers, Pound volunteers, rescue and foster parents – let’s all work together to get the information out there.

Contact the CEO’s of the Following organisations with the document, and ask the question “what is your position with regard to adopting the No Kill Philosophy enshrined in the AWL Queensland Community Change Model in your own operation? What steps are you taking to implement the No Kill Equation? And what progress are you making? What are your rehoming figures  as a percentage of all incoming animals for the past 2 years?

Steve Coleman CEO RSPCA NSW scoleman@rspcansw.org.au

Maryann Dalton CEO AWL NSW maryanndalton@animalwelfareleague.com.au

Maria Mercurio CEO RSPCA Vic ceoea@rspcavic.org.au

Steve Vanston CEO RSPCA WA steve@rspcawa.asn.au

Steve Lawrie CEO RSPCA SA slawrie@rspca.asn.au

News from NSW – the Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill 2008 – defeated

The above bill by Clover Moore was debated and voted in NSW Parliament on October 11th.

 At the outset,  Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) moved to have the motion amended so that the outcome would be a parliamentary Inquiry, instead of a debate on the Bill. This amendment was rejected 44:33, and so the debate on the proposed Bill proceeded.

There then followed a number of speeches against and for the proposed Bill ending in a summary final reply by Clover Moore.

We listened to the debate and have analysed the speeches from Hansard.

You can download the debate here

You can make your own mind up, but here are our comments:

The speeches by the Members opposing the Bill were nothing short of disgraceful. When the first Minister to speak (Paul McLeay, Heathcote) said “One of the highlights of my family’s weekly shopping trip with our 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son is to go to the local pet stores and have a look in the windows. Our children like to look at the dogs and animals that are for sale.”…. you get an  idea of what is going to follow.

He opines in his speech:  “It is highly unlikely that the general community would support the invasiveness and cost of inspectorate that this would require”

All I can say is that then he didn’t listen to those of the general community who want change on behalf of the animals.

Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) made a lengthy speech that reiterated and stressed all the reasons that the opponents of the Bill had originally proposed, thereby putting a nail in the coffin of any chance to get the Bill through, but he then ended by saying that because this is such an important issue, the bill should not be voted down today, but recommended “a select committee to investigate the issues the bill raises and bring back to Parliament a full report on the advancement of the protection of mammals in NSW”.

This would have been a good outcome for progress.

Alan Ashton (East Hills) made a totally pathetic lengthy ramble starting with “the bill sets out ways to do this ( ie protect the lives and well being of dogs, cats) that are clearly out of steps with community needs and expectations”

Really? Where did he get that idea from?

Minister Ashton stressed his belief that the “government already has appropriate legislation in place that regulates the pet industry”

Really?

He then rambled on around a range of issues such as how well microchipping works and his own efforts at rehoming dogs he found that had been microchipped. He spoke about his belief (or Minister MacDonald’s belief?) that “the animal trades codes  ( And the Prevention of Cruelty Act) provide a solid foundation for future progress on a broad range of animal trade issues”.

Just how out of touch can you be? He said that “since the introduction of this code (Pet Shop Code of Practice) in 2008, experience indicates that it has worked effectively”.

(DRP comment: we will follow up with the Minister to ask exactly where he got this information from, because there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Code is just a cosmetic job to make it appear that the Government has done something – no more).

Finally Mr Ashton spoke about the issue of breeding and selling of working dogs. He said that “the provisions (for working dogs in the 2007 Bill) are unworkable and demonstrate that the member from Sydney (Clover Moore) does not understand rural NSW”!!

And yet, this provision was DELETED by Clover Moore from the 2008 version of the Bill after she had listened to this objection by the farmers in the 2007 version of the Bill.

Minister Ashton, you need a new speech writer – just how out of touch with the proposed Bill could you be? Clover Moore later described Ashton’s contribution as “misinformation put before Parliament” (DRP translation: ie a lie).

Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) spoke positively for the Bill (dowload here) and reiterated the need for an Inquiry, should the Bill not be voted for. Of note, he said “While the Bill will not be supported by the House, it and the sentiments expressed by Members…should serve as a wake up call for the industry to further improve its policies and codes of practice, and drive out the unscrupulous minority”.

Peter Besseling (Port Macquarie) spoke and also recommended referring the Bill to a Legislative Council committee.

Finally Clover Moore replied to the speeches. Her final speech is well worth reading and her comments referring to the comments made are especially noteworthy. (Download here)

She opened up by stating that: “it is quite clear that the pet industry and the Australian Veterinary Association want to protect their business”.

There are too many points to comment on here, but we especially liked the comment:

“In response to the bill, the Government has tweaked an existing code of practice. That tweaking is pathetic”.

Ms Moore stressed “the conflict of interests in the bodies that advise government” that would be exposed by an open Inquiry.

“There is no substance to the government’s claims, other than responding to the vested interests of the pet industry. This is a result that should make this parliament hang its head in shame”.

We agree wholeheartedly and commend Minister Clover Moore for her stand on this matter.

DRP comment:

The Ministers speaking against the Bill focussed exclusively on the original “objections” provide by the pet industry and the NSW Veterinary Association in 2007 – objections that were strongly and assertively countered by many groups supporting the Bill over the following 18 months.

Ministers received numerous letters and information from many groups – Deathrowpets, from NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee (download here), Cat Rescue and Paws for Action, amongst others explaining in depth why the objections provided by the opponents to the Bill was wrong.

This information and rebuttal of the information provided by the opponents to the Bill was totally ignored. Not even mentioned. Why?

In our view the Members speaking against the Bill could have saved a lot of taxpayer’s time and money and simply said “Minister Ian Macdonald (DPI) says no, and so no, we’re not going to vote for the Bill, lets not waste time on a sham of a debate.”

So much for Parliamentary debate.

Note: some people are saying that only 3 Ministers voted for the bill. This is not correct. Some of the Parliamentary processes are a bit beyond us mere mortals, but what actually happened was that the vote was carried out in behind closed doors and only 3 Ministers, included Ms Moore, voted for a recount, and that was denied. We dont know how many voted for or against. So much for transparency.

Actions you can take:

  1. Please write to Minister Clover Moore to thank her for her long term efforts on behalf of the animals and for her work on the Bill. Please ask that she consider tabling a new Bill as soon possible requiring mandatory desexing of household pets
  2. Please write to Minister Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) and send your thanks for his efforts and support of the bill, and would he consider tabling a Bill requiring mandatory desexing of household pets

News from NSW – where to now? We have lost a battle, but we have not lost the war! Part 1

As soon as the Bill was defeated, the Pet Industry News (PIN) Editor and Director of PIAA, Bob Croucher (PIN Head) wrote:

“The Pet Industry Association has worked from day one opposing these Bills, in conjunction with AVA, Dogs NSW and other groups that were going to be affected by this Bill. Meetings were held with Clover Moore , Minister Mr Ian McDonald and other members of Parliament. Clover Moore was not interested in listening to the industry even when the facts were pointed out to her.  She was clearly driven by the animal liberation groups and not by the welfare interests of the animals. Mr McDonald and his advisors however did listen to what PIA and the AVA had to say when shown that working with the industry would achieve better results than cutting the industry off altogether.

The Government was already working on a Code of Practice for the Pet Industry which has since been implemented. Pet Shops have been micro chipping dogs and cats for many years. The NSW Government is to be congratulated on their decision and it is hoped that this will be the end of what has been a long two years of dark cloud hanging over the lives of those within the Pet Industry.”

This is the message to Mr Croucher and his mates at PIAA: “sorry, Bob, it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.”

It is critical that those wanting to stop the killing of over 60,000 healthy animals in NSW now to use this Bill campaign as a platform to take this to the next level.

Clover Moore said:

“I say to all those who worked hard to gather support for the bill: Do not be disheartened.

 We have achieved much.

 Since introducing the bill, problems with the pet industry have been reported on the Sunday Program, Stateline, 9am With David and Kim, and in almost every State and local newspaper in New South Wales.

 More people now know about puppy farms, backyard breeders, and the appalling number of cats and dogs that are destroyed every year in this State compared with previously.

 I am certain that many members of this House never thought about this issue before I introduced my bill. I noted that speakers in this debate gave anecdotes about their pets. It is a pity they do not have a greater conscience about the good of animals across the State.

I have received thousands of letters and emails on the issue, and I have been encouraged by the many communities that care about the plight of animals. Indeed, I understand that the bill was studied in a university animal law course. I remain committed to raising this issue in the Parliament in the future. I encourage everyone to continue to inform their friends, family and colleagues about the problems with the pet industry, and to continue to write to their elected representatives in this House to protect animals.
 
I will conclude with the words that I have spoken in this House before regarding this issue. I quote Mahatma Gandhi, who said:

 “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

The world’s great thinkers have long understood that social progress can be seen in the way a society treats its animals. Animals cannot speak; they cannot vote.

 I think we have a comment today in this place about how this Parliament treats its animals, and it is a real comment on our society.

 It is a comment I really regret, and a comment I will work to change.”

DRP Comment: Let’s take heart from Ms Moore’s words here. We always knew that the Government were opposed to meaningful change in the pet industry.But the Bill campaign has created a level of discussion, awareness and debate unprecedented in NSW companion animal history. The threat of a bill, and the campaigns around it, to those who don’t want change, is a wonderful tool.

We now know who the opponents to change are – they have stuck their heads out of the trenches and shown their true colours. We know what their tactics and objectiions are, and we understand why the Labor Governement aren’t interested in meaningful change. We have learnt much.The thousands of people who really care about the numbers of healthy animals un-necessarily killed in pounds and shelters have risen to the challenge and made their statements of support crystal clear.

And finally, the RSPCA NSW, and AWL NSW, were notable in their absence to supporting Clover Moore’s Bill and much needed change. Why? We throw the opportunity to Steve Coleman RSPCA NSW CEO and AWL CEO Maryanne Dalton to provide an answer to that question. If you are member sof RSPCA or AWL NSW, or send your charity dollars, you should ask that question.

There are important things we need to do now.

It is critical that the animals in  NSW, (and each of the other States?) get a public and open parliamentary Inquiry into companion animal welfare as an eventual outcome. The opponents to change are already trying to head this off by calling for “a scientific study by an independent expert”. ( ie a closed study with no public input, most likely conducted by a sympathetic veterinary scientist  at a University). They have already sent a letter to every Member – you can read this here. Click here…  This must not be allowed to proceed. It will be closed to the public and ensure that vested interests are protected.

 Actions you can take:

1 Write to your opposition Member and ask if they will agree make a firm commitment to undertake  a Parliamentary Inquiry into Companion Animal Welfare in NSW  should they form a government in the next election. Stress the importance of this as a necessity to create the best conditions for an honest assessment of the situation for companion animals.

Ask them to view the letter they were recently sent by the self proclaimed “peak bodies” (hands up all those opposed to change) stating the case for “a scientific study by an independent expert” as nothing more than an attempt to have the vested interests in the pet industry influence and control the outcome. They should ignore this letter from: NSW Veterinary Association, Animal Welfare League NSW, Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, PIIA, Waratah Cat Alliance and Australian National Kennel Council.

Note: we are especially disappointed to see the Animal Welfare League NSW and Sydney Dogs and Cats Home included in this group. Two groups who should know better.

Stress that despite cosmetic efforts by this government to manage via unenforceable Codes of Practice, and their claim that they “really care about animal welfare”, that the numbers of animals entering pounds and shelters in NSW continues to rise and over 60,000 were killed in pounds and shelters last year – an increase over the previous year.

2 Write to your Labor Member stating your disappointment in the way they ignored the arguments raised by the supporters to the bill, and their opposition to an Inquiry.

3 Write to Independent Minister Clover Moore and the Hon. Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) asking them to continue their efforts to create regulation and change in the NSW pet industry. Specifically ask them if they will consider creating a new Bill for  compulsory desexing for all household pet cats and dogs in NSW.