“Someone has to be an advocate for the animals and that’s what I see as my role”: Kirsty Seksel

The article below, Pet Project,  is from the Dubbo Week-ender that appeared on July 14th 2012.

Please download it here: petProjectDubboWeekender_July12

Whilst we certainly agree with the sentiment of allowing residents of aged care facilities to keep their pets, there are some alarming messages embedded in the article that those involved in companion animal advocacy and rescue will need to pay attention to.

Firstly,  printed articles like this get out to a very wide readership;  5000 copies are distributed, and then there is the e-version which will go to many readers. Rescue groups and animal welfare advocates are just not competing with this.

Kirsty Seksel (ACAC)  has managed to get herself into this article and is using it as a vehicle to send some messages that we should not under-estimate.

(If you want to know more about ACAC, read this here and here )

These are the important points from this article.

as president of the  Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC) the nation’s peak body for the pet care industry” . Message: ..listen to us….

“…… among a range of factors ACAC is investigating in an attempt to arrest the declining level of pet ownership in Australia. According to the non-profit organisation, between 1994 and 2009 Australia experienced a 22 percent increase in human population, whilst at the same time there was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of pet dogs and 20 percent decrease in number of pet cats

Message: They are very concerned about declining owned –animal numbers. We know this; this is a drum Seksel and others have been banging for a very long time. The Vet Associations are very concerned about declining owned pet numbers. Obviously it will affect their businesses. The massive numbers of un-owned animals in pounds and shelters are not of concern to them – there is no money in pound animals. That is the whole point of the messages that Seksel is sending in this article.

Seksel (The ACAC representative on the NSW Taskforce) says that “the responsibility for many of the deaths (in pounds) can be laid at the door of people who breed dogs and cats without thinking of the consequences”.

Fine, we can agree with that, but then she goes on to say “We need to breed animals that are suitable as pets and that’s a big issue”.

Now we agree with that statement, but what she is not saying is that she is laying a path to the Breeders (……. who are members of ACAC). She is NOT saying – if you want a pet, get it from your pound or RSPCA or AWL. ( My personal view, I have no problem with responsible breeders, but let’s empty the pounds first…)

In fact she goes on to talk about the “persistence of genetically inherited anxiety disorders in pets” (that she attributes to this irresponsible breeding)

What she is saying is thatit’s true that euthanasia rates are high, BUT we also have to recognise that 20 percent of animals have some sort of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is the underlying reason for aggression and who wants an aggressive dog”.

Message: if you get your dog from a pound, you will likely get an aggressive dog….. don’t take the risk…

Next: “Many pet advocates are misguided in their wish to save all animals. Many people want to save every animal and you just can’t. Who is going to want the dog that attacks you as soon as you walk in the cage?” (There it is again…)

Message: That is an underhand attack on the No Kill movement. The No Kill movement is a big threat to the pet industry. If every member of the public got their pet from the pound or AWL, then what would breeders and pet shop sales do? (…… funnily enough pet shops would still do well as all those pets (from pounds) need feeding and supplies  etc of course)

Now this is hilarous, if it wasn’t sad:  “someone has to be an advocate for the animals and that’s what I see as my role” .…… oh, really? What exactly have you done Ms Seksel for animals in pounds? Huh?

And “if we really care about pets, then sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thing I can do for a pet”.

Message : It’s sometimes OK to kill your pet……………ie don’t feel bad about it.

And last of all, where does she say , if you want to save  a life, get your pet from a shelter or pound??

By the way, note the socialising of the idea of registration fees being used…NSW residents, start get used to the idea of increased registration fees….!

Actions you can take:

We should not allow people like Seksel to get away with this garbage.

Firstly write to ACAC at info@acac.org.au and ask for the research that shows that “20 % of dogs suffer from anxiety”’;

Then write to the Editor of the Dubbo Week-ender at elise@panscott.com.au and let them know what you think.

And now, tell us what you think about this type of propaganda?


15 thoughts on ““Someone has to be an advocate for the animals and that’s what I see as my role”: Kirsty Seksel

  1. Anne Greenaway July 24, 2012 / 9:07 pm

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for making this public. I have written to the paper and spoken to Tim Pankhurst who is the Managing Director of Dubbo Weekender.

    I suggest the correct emails to use are


    I also wrote to ACAC querying Dr Seksel’s comments (“20% of animals have some sort of anxiety disorder”) but have received no reply from her.

    I have spoken to several vets, none of them know where she got this figure from or are aware of any research of publications that support it.

    In my opinion, it is disgraceful that she should hold herself as the “advocate for animals”. I have seen absolutely no evidence of this.

  2. Cathryn Levvey July 24, 2012 / 9:27 pm

    This person is doing more harm than good and is not being an advocate for the unwanted ,abandoned animals that need it most. She is only interested in her own agenda and is sprouting lies to achieve it.

  3. Jo Kelly July 24, 2012 / 9:49 pm

    This woman has sold her soul (in totality) to her current source of income. What a lightweight, conscience-less ***** (DRP edited) she is.

  4. Inez July 25, 2012 / 11:08 am

    I would also like to ad that many people including myself have a VERY poor opinion of Kirsty Seksel as a behavourial therapist. She has an extremely high opinion of herself, despite the fact that many dog trainers and behavioural therapists don’t think much of her or her techniques. One of my own dogs, Max, had gone to her for help for aggression before we adopted him ( he was going to be put down for aggression). The training notes were laughable and demonstrated clearly to me that she had no solution for aggressive dogs. It doesn’t surprise me she is the president of the ACAC. It is entirely consistent with her modus operandi.

  5. Martina July 25, 2012 / 11:48 am

    With a spokesperson like Kirsty Seksel, who needs enemies? Her statements in this article are careless and as an advocate for companion animals I would expect more focus on adopting from a pound and responsible pet ownership. It is too easy to blame pets for failed relationships with their owners (anxiety and aggression)- we humans are responsible to look after our pets with training, rules, socialising, affection and love. It is irresponsible to say that we need to breed the right type of dogs. Does she mean the type of dog that needs no exercise, rules and just copes well being left alone for 10 hours every day? If a person expects a dog to be that, get fish instead. They are a much better pet for you!
    ALL animal problems stem from people- we are the ones causing the problems. When shopping for a pet, we look to breeders who can give us a specific colour, look, size etc. which is wrong. It is more important to match personality, character, etc. of the pet to the owner. That’s why shelters are always the better option. Pets are not an accessory like a handbag- it is a long time responsibility.
    Would love to hear Kirsty’s response to all this criticism too- has anybody spoken to her?

  6. Anne Greenaway July 25, 2012 / 7:14 pm

    Martina –

    Here is what I wrote to ACAC

    Comments attributed to Dr Kersti Seksel (Dubbo Week-ender 14/7/2012)

    I have attempted to ring the Australian Companion Animal Council and left a message on the answering machine.

    I am writing with regard to a recent article published in Dubbo Week-ender entitled “Pet Project”.

    The following comments have been attributed to Dr Seksel (screen shot attached). I understand similar comments were made in October 2011 at APDT forum in Sydney.

    Could you please be so kind as to provide sources for such statements, particularly the statement that that ” “20% of animals have some sort of anxiety disorder”. If any studies have been undertaken, please advise if such studies or publications have been peer reviewed. I understand that this request has been made previously yet no information has been forthcoming.

  7. Sue Lesmond July 25, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    Kirsty Seksel is an ignorant uncompassionate ******** (DRP edited).She must have obtained her degree from out of a corn flakes packet.
    She obviously is not only an idiot who has zero compassion for animals but it is evident that she also has a hidden agenda surrounding dollars and cents.She is not supportive of animal shelters and pounds because she no doubt is promoting her dog breeding venture.How dare this ignorant fool bad mouth attempts to rehome homeless pets.
    Her reputation as as a so called behavourial therapist is very poor. She has an inflated opinion of herself.
    How could the Dubbo Week-ender print such rubbish

  8. cherry Leonard July 25, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    I wil read the the article in Dubbo paper again and although I do not accept ACAC as a leading light in animal welfre, as money is the root of all evil, I do think Deathrow pets has read a little too much into some of the comments, I will ask others for their opinion
    I do know many excellent cats are destroyed at refuges and many disfunctional cats are rescued and homes because of the rescue syndrome and the fact it canot be expected that cat lovers trap cats in fctories and are then responsible for their destuction
    Facts are no breeder should be adding to the supply while good cats are destroyed.

  9. Chris July 26, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    You really draw a long bow sometimes Paul.

    This is new research. No doubt your readers will respond in another ad hominim attack. Or blame capitalism.

    “The study found that 80 per cent of dogs exhibit some sort of behavioural problem. The most common was “hyperactivity”, with 60 per cent of dogs said to exhibit this behaviour either “frequently”, “sometimes” or “all the time”.
    Thirty per cent were found to have “fears” or “phobias”, while 22.5 per cent were described as having “obsessive compulsive disorders” — such as excessive paw-licking or tail-chasing — and 12 per cent exhibited “separation-related problems” when parted from their owner.”

    More here:

  10. Anne Greenaway July 26, 2012 / 9:38 pm

    Where is this study? Who funded it? Was it peer reviewed? Is it published?

    Regardless of this ridiculous study which I imagine would have been funded by vested interests, in any event there is a difference between exhibiting some sort of behavioural problem and a full blown anxiety disorder.

    This sentence says it all.

    “However, it has prompted warnings that owners and the veterinary industry could be “medicalising” normal animal behaviour and providing excuses for bad ownership.”

    Here we have another industry happy to exploit normal dog behaviour to make money by “medicalising” seemingly natural behaviour in a dog and labelling it as a range of psychiatric diagnoses – such as “hyperactivity”, “phobic behaviour” and “separation anxiety.

    This is unconscionable behaviour which does not look at the best interests of dogs, but is sadly not unexpected by some involved in the drug and vet industries. Just because someone is a vet does not mean they have the best interests of animals at stake. Like all professions, some are just in it for the money. Let’s not forget vets who work in the greyhound and puppy farming industries (such as Ron Wells, a former Victorian MP and vet)

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/grim-end-for-christmas-puppies-20090407-9xbp.html#ixzz21itzsyVY




    If you have a busy lifestyle don’t get a dog then leave it at home all day, then dope it up with anti-depressants to make it “normal”. Selfish people who are happy to drug up their dogs after they react in a normal way to being left alone do not deserve the company of a loyal canine companion.

  11. Helen Powderly July 28, 2012 / 2:19 pm

    I was stunned to see what Kersty Seksel had written,What a joke “Someone has to be an advocate for the Animals”
    well that is something she is not, as far as I can see she does not give a damm about the animals, (Only those she can make make money from)

    Over the years I have heard the garbage this woman has spoken, never once is it for the protection or care of the animals that have no voice and are left to die in Pounds or Shelters, no she thinks we need to keep populating and destroying more animals, I have been involved with AWl and Rescue for many years and we all try and make a difference,bur Kersty is all about herself interests.

    I wonder how often she visits a Pound or Shelter,of course some of the animals are stressed or have anxiety, but would not you if you were left in some Pound or shelter? what a ridiculous statement to make, and she obviously is telling people not to go to these places,, go to a Pet shop and help the Puppy farmers.

    My opinion of her is extremely low, She is just advocating for herself and needs to be careful what she writes.

    I would also be very interested in reading where the 20% study was done? by Who? and where we can get a copy of it.

    Helen Powderly

  12. Tenisha Rahoche February 4, 2013 / 10:44 pm

    Aside from being mega-rich and famous, what do David Beckham and Leonardo di Caprio have in common? Both suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by an obsessive or distressing thought. It may also involve compulsions or “rituals.” It is such a serious concern that event the World Health Organization has labeled OCD as among the top 10 most disabling illnesses faced by society today. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 3.3 million people are suffering from OCD.-

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  14. Tina Bellamy April 13, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    Well done for bringing this to light –

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