Getting to Zero Workshop Sydney
NSW Parliament House, Wednesday 18 May 2011. Workshop report from G2Z. Actions you can take at end.
http://www.g2z.com.au/ (under construction)
“The Getting to Zero (G2Z) workshop for Sydney was attended by about 90 people representing a variety of roles in companion animal welfare: shelters; pounds; rescue groups; elected councillors; council companion animal officers; animal law activists; animal behaviour experts; policy specialists and individuals.
Throughout the day, key points from participants were noted. At the conclusion of the day we collated ideas and suggestions that would help rehome more companion animals. These will help to create a ‘blueprint’ that will help Sydney get to zero euthanasia of healthy companion animals.
There were relatively simple practical and policy actions that could be put in place in the short or medium term; suggestions regarding changes to legislation that would be helpful; and some matters noted as being arguably part of the overall picture but which would require separate research and consideration. Rather than be overwhelmed by what can’t be done, the focus was on what can be done.
Participants agreed to share contact details so they could pursue networks and exchange ideas. Many new contacts were made on the day. There will be a Getting to Zero website launched in the coming weeks that will feature resources for the sector to use, as well as listing useful contacts for states and territories.
Many of the actions listed below are already in place in some services; some represent actions that can be taken by individuals; and some are not going to be applicable to every type of service. They are listed in no particular order and all will make a contribution to ‘getting to zero’.
ACTIONS – short and medium term
• Counsel people surrendering pets on alternatives, or at the least try to buy time if the shelter/pound is full
• Challenge ignorance of animal welfare: the community needs to understand the realities of what is happening to companion animals
• Support the Member for Sydney’s notice of motion to establish a select committee to inquire into the welfare of companion animals: visit your local state Member of Parliament and tell them why they should support the motion; tell others about the motion and ask them to do the same. MPs need to understand
this is something the community wants and the animals need
• Also ask your local councillors to lobby their local state MP to support the motion: it is in councils’ interest that the situation for companion animals is improved; apart from charities it is councils who incur the financial costs of pet homelessness
• List vets who practice early age desexing on the G2Z website
• Post research articles that prove the safety of early age desexing on the G2Z
• Use the G2Z website & make it social network friendly
• Rehome via vets (benefit to them is it creates new clients)
• Rehome via ethical pet stores (make sure animals are desexed first and check adoption procedures)
• Make sure you portray your companion animals as healthy and happy: don’t market as sad shelter pets but loving friends waiting for a home. The more people see shelter dogs as an attractive option, the less demand there will be for puppy farm dogs thus reducing that market
• Ask your community for help; whether it is volunteering, donations or pro bono
work, don’t be afraid to ask
• Councils: get involved in Op Cat desexing program with Cat Protection, or start your own discount desexing program
• People looking for discount desexing can be referred to Cat Protection, AWL or
RSPCA, or check the National Desexing Network website http://www.ndn.org.au
• Start a foster care program: it not only expands your pound’s capacity, it helps to socialise animals and it can act as a ‘trial’ for pet ownership
• Pounds should look to work with rescue groups: you can select who you work with, make sure they’re good. Specialised breed rescue groups are particularly
good for assisting with rehoming pedigree animals as those rescue groups have good networks of people looking for/experienced with that breed
• Insurance: make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your volunteers
(including off-site as needed) as well as comprehensive public liability insurance
• Invest in environmental enrichment rather than paying for rehab later. Try treat- balls, toys, Feliway/DAP, music, T-touch, Thundershirts
• Use volunteers to work with you to train your dogs to be confident and non- aggressive; obedient; make sure they can walk well in ‘the real world’ – eg the Open Paw program http://www.openpaw.com this program is very simple and delivers excellent results for the dogs as well as proving fulfilling for volunteers
• Educate the community about encouraging pet-friendly accommodation
• Assist renters with creating a pet résumé (Cat Protection has guidelines you can use but there are also others widely available on the internet)
• Advocate for legislative change to the Strata Schemes Management Act to disallow blanket pet bans and to put the onus on owners corporations to show why a pet is refused and make these decisions subject to independent review
• Advocate for legislative changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that do not discriminate against pet owners while still providing reasonable protections for
• We ask that the NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee continues to pursue the matter of pet-friendly accommodation
• Councils: make sure your constituents are aware of where their local pound is, what it does, and what animals are available for adoption
• Leadership from Councillors: set policies; find engaged staff and colleagues to pursue them
• Councils can set policy and practice guidelines with a pound as a part of their
contract, don’t have to follow standard pound practice, eg can elect to have animals held longer than minimum period required by law; can elect to pay for desexing prior to adoption
• Educate community about microchipping and the importance of keeping contact details up to date
• Use ‘petfests’ (refer Holroyd Council) as a way to educate community on responsible pet ownership and make sure you offer free/discount microchipping on the day and provide a means for people to update or check microchip details
• Put pets of the week on your council’s website; use local newspaper columns to
promote pets & responsible pet ownership
• DON’T FORGET OTHER ANIMALS: rabbits, guinea pigs, etc – they need homes too
• There are MPs and Councillors who are demonstrating positive leadership in
animal welfare: Don’t forget to thank them!
• CUPS (council network) to keep G2Z on its agenda as a standing item
• Geographic networks to focus on particular areas
ACTIONS – longer term
• Research: what are the reasons for people not desexing and registering their pets? (registration data for cats shows the majority (c95+%) of registered cats are desexed. The law requires pets to be registered so obviously many people are
not abiding by existing law)
• Importance of data collection, consistent terminology and making information public
• What about free-roaming cats?
• Companion Animals Act doesn’t make it easy to help cats
• Strata & Residential Tenancies acts must be reformed to end discrimination against pets/pet-owners
• Mandatory desexing prior to sale or transfer except for registered breeders
• Regulate internet sales
• Harmonise laws affecting animal welfare between states and territories (eg internet sales regulated in one state will continue if not regulated nationwide) – refer to SCAG or COAG
Most importantly, don’t stop trying, don’t be disheartened and don’t forget to look after your own wellbeing
Thank you to AWL Queensland for their work developing G2Z; to the Member for Sydney, Clover Moore MP for her continued support of animal welfare and for hosting the G2Z workshop; to Eva Cox AO for facilitating the workshop; and to the Member for Camden, Chris Patterson MP for his interest and support.
From our furry friends, thank you to everyone who attended”
Documents to download:
Outcomes Getting to Zero Workshop Sydney (nb sames text as above)
DRP comment and actions you can take:
Fantastic outcome and well done to the G2Z team from Sydney (that’s Kristina Vesk, CEO Cat Protection Society (NSW) andTim Vaseduva who is helping the Sydney Dog and Cat Home to become NSW’s first G2Z success!
Please download these documents. Write to your local Council and tell them about G2Z and ask if they will consider the program for their Council area. It saves lives! Do it now and let us know how you go!
The plan is to deliver further G2Z workshops in each State via a National G2Z Committee. Look out for developments!
tell us what you tghink about G2Z!