News from Queensland: RSPCA strategy in Queensland

 Personal communication from Mark Townend, CEO RSPCA Qlnd. May 2010

 “I have mentioned this before but the main reason for euthanasia of dogs is behaviour – especially in regard to those that are not trained and socialised early in life.

At our new facility at Wacol, we will have the opportunity to ramp up in Qld the areas of Animal Training and Behaviour. As from July this year, with a new budget in place we will be launching a new Behaviour Helpline Service in Qld.

 Generally, my aim is to instigate a RSPCA nationally accredited animal training service that would be reasonably sustainable and implemented right across the country.

 Glad it was a good experience when you visited the Rockhampton Pet Store, 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 animals behaviour and for humans often a very sad and depressing place to visit, so in Queensland I have no intention of building new RSPCA Shelters, certainly replacing or renewing the ones we have but no additions. Some new Shelters 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, then they are marketed for rehoming through the internet with some retail type space, e.g. Rockhampton Pet shop to actually meet and greet the animals.

 Unfortunately the public are “lazy”. We could sit back and say well if they can’t travel to the RSPCA shelter to get an animal they shouldn’t have one. Sounds fair enough but all that happens is that 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 be RSPCA Pet shops, private pet shops or vet clinics,  sell RSPCA orphaned and desexed animals. Of course we would need make sure the private establishments meet certain standards.

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

 There is 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:

The rehoming of homelss animals through an appropriate retail outlet, if managed correctly, can provide homes for many needy animals. This is totally different to a pet store selling a puppy or kitten bought from a back yard breeder, or puppy farm or rogue registered breeder with no scruples.

We don’t like to label these rehoming centres “pet shops” – can you think of another appropriate name? Let us know your thoughts!

(PS remember that the RSPCA’s in each State are seperate and individual entities)

14 thoughts on “News from Queensland: RSPCA strategy in Queensland

  1. Tractor August 2, 2010 / 11:48 am

    RSPCA plans to kill off competition by damnifying pet shops and breeders. All people who breed any puppies should be on alert for RSPCA, using their powers, will come and take them to sell for their own profit through their retailing businesses. The pet Industry in under attack from RSPCA and needs to become organised in a fight back.

  2. Mita August 5, 2010 / 3:32 pm

    Well done, RSPCA Qld. I like the idea of the fostering network where pups & dogs & cats in care would be cared for in ‘home’ environments where they’d get the benefits of socialisation.
    I also commend RSPCA Qld for their advice in their February newsletter where they directed people to adopt their pets from both ethical rescue sources & from good breeders. Good registered breeders have nothing to fear from the RSPCA Qld….only respect for doing the right thing by the dogs in their care & how they socialise their puppies (UQ research backs that).
    I’m pleased to see that something that calls itself the pet ‘industry’ feels itself to be under attack. The words ‘pet’ & ‘industry’ are contradictions in terms. We don’t talk about the education ‘industry’ nor the health care ‘industry’ for children….because both are governed by professional ethics.
    So should the breeding, raising & homing of pet dogs & cats.
    I agree with the comment that the RSPCA Qld might consider a name change & not call their outlets ‘pet shops’. I’d suggest they call them ‘Adoption Centres[ to place emphasis on the responsibilities of both provider & possible new owner.

  3. PetLover August 6, 2010 / 11:06 am

    Tractor – the RSPCA are quite clear in their message about breeders – if they are reputable and good – there’s no issue. The RSPCA’s Smart Puppy Buyer Guide gives pretty clear information to the public on good breeders and where to get your puppies/dogs from:

    If you’re a breeder and intimidated by this information then perhaps you need to rethink your career.

  4. WHY ? August 6, 2010 / 8:14 pm

    Why is it that RSPCA ACT can rehome 9 out of 10 dogs, and 8 of of 10 cats, yet RSPCA QLD can only achieve to rehome 6 out of 10 dogs and 1 out of 3 cats ?
    Why do all of the state RSPCA’s appear to run their own race when they should be looking to best practice?
    RSPCA QLD euthanase 1 in 5 puppies – is this because of a behavioural problem ? I don’t think so Mr. Townend – Stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
    RSPCA nationally should be pulling together as a group, looking to their state counterparts most succesful initiatives and implementing same.
    RSPCA is the key animal welfare group in Australia – how about they start pulling together to achieve some real results.

  5. EX RSPCA ACT August 7, 2010 / 1:13 pm

    I have worked in the both the kennel and cattery at RSPCA ACT and there is NO WAY those rehoming figures are accurate. 4 or 5 (good) dogs go down most days and they only have capacity for 40 (and no they were not “full”). Cats – far more. I do not know exact numbers but they are using a very strange method of calculating their statistics. The CEO is a good talker I’ll give him that. If you want the truth speak to one of the many ex staff members who either left or were dismissed for speaking out.

  6. FACTS & FIGURES August 8, 2010 / 10:55 am

    We have the benefit of Annual Reports with the RSPCA which are published on their respective websites.
    RSPCA ACT 08/09
    1628 dogs/136 euthanased = 8.35%
    2223 cats /744 domestic euthanased = 33.4% (ACT also seperate feral cats which accounts for another 430 cats = 19.34% – TOTAL CATS EUTHANASED = 52.8%
    Not quite the 8 out of 10 cats they say they save.
    RSPCA QLD 08/09
    17,227 dogs/6,878 euthanased = 39.9%
    17102 cats /11045 euthanased = TOTAL 64.58% (QLD does not appear to seperate the domestic/feral cats).
    I have used percentages above, but these statistics are not percentages – these are unwanted cats & dogs that are being killed every day. We need to move more quickly towards a “No-kill” society where these numbers are considered to be absolutely unacceptable.

  7. Mark Townend August 9, 2010 / 5:40 pm

    In reply to WHY on the 6th August questioning 1 in 5 puppies are being put down to a behavioural problem; you’re right, they aren’t nor did we ever say they were. The most common reason puppies are put down are parvo and we need to be onto this immediately we become aware so as to protect every other animal in our shelter.

  8. WHY ? August 9, 2010 / 10:20 pm

    In reply to Mark Townend of 9th August. I would prefer that you just stated that you just can’t find enough homes for the cats and dogs, kittens & puppies. – not feed us this line. First it was quote ” I have mentioned this before but the main reason for euthanasia of dogs is behaviour – especially in regard to those that are not trained and socialised early in life”. Now you feed us the line -quote” The most common reason puppies are put down are parvo”.
    You are kidding.
    So how about you share with us how many of the 717 puppies in 08/09 euthansed had Parvo.

  9. Deathrowpets August 15, 2010 / 7:22 pm

    Sent by email from MArk Townend CEO RSPCA Queensland:

    “I stand by my previous comments in that the majority of dogs are euthanized due to behavioural issues. Yes I understand there is different views on whether those views are legitimate or not, however the majority are put down on that basis. The question she/he then asked was in relation to puppies so I answered honestly that when it comes to puppies the reason is more medical, particularly parvo.
    Unfortunately the puppies we often get in are from lower socio economic areas (I can actually produce a report by suburb) and come from residencies that have animals never vaccinated against parvo. In Qld particularly Parvo is more relevant due to our warm humid climate. When a litter comes in and a parvo dog is found in that litter sometimes the whole litter needs to be put to sleep to protect the majority of animals in our care. This could all be avoided if people just vaccinated their animals.

    The amount of parvo cases in Fairfield and Townsville shelters can be quite high and when you get litters of 7 or 8 pups infected it doesn’t take long to start adding up. Staff get very distressed when they know we can rehome every healthy puppy and they are having to put them to sleep.

  10. FULLOFIT December 14, 2010 / 10:31 am

    Why is it so??????
    On one hand the RSPCA euthanises all animals that it can’t sell for a profit and admits that it can’t cope with animal welfare issues.
    On the other hand mark townend has publicly denigrated private animal refuges tha practice ‘No Kill” policies, claiming without evidence that the operators create more animal welfare issues than they solve.
    Hypocrysy!!!!!!!! Fuul of it.

  11. FULLOFIT December 14, 2010 / 10:32 am

    Apologies for the typos.

  12. FULLOFIT December 14, 2010 / 11:16 am

    Why is it so????
    RSPCA “Killing Rooms” at their “Euthanasia Factories” (animal shelters???) have been reported in the media to be wheeling out body bags by the barrow load all ady every day while PR mouths like Mark Townend and his cohorts cry poor and beg for public money to help them dispense “Animal Welfare”.
    Full Of It. You better believe it.

  13. Sandy December 20, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    Unfortunately if you research the issues the entire RSPCA (just Google it) has had over the years, you will see a pattern of disorganisation and a serious lack of external transparency as to what actually occurs in these shelters, Fairfield included. Its like anywhere else–a brave, coherent face must be put forth to stem the external questioning of the public. If the true nature of what’s happening becomes public knowledge then the flow of money to this organisation will stop, bringing it to it’s knees. And unfortunately destroy many, many more animals in the process. Therefore the sympathy card MUST be played again and again, and “hope” must be pushed–to keep the money flowing in–which means RSPCA’s branding must remain in the public eye, constantly. If you can keep that sympathetic branding pure–pulling at people’s heartstrings, making people not thinking objectively–then someone could easily character assassinate anyone who steps forward and speaks the truth. It’s done in government, business–and at the RSPCA.

  14. Inge Rheinberger August 29, 2011 / 8:09 am

    RSPCA – Noosa
    I was assured that the little 6month old healthy stray cat I brought to the RSPCA will be rehomed as soon as she comes out of 4 days isolation. To make a long story short, she was euthanised without informing me as soon as she came out of isolation. Never ever will I contact the RSPCA again and I deeply regret having brought the cat to the RSPCA and putting her thru 4 days of hell only to be euthanized.
    Inge Rheinberger

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