a) Steve Coleman, RSPCA NSW CEO, SMH, RSPCA criticised.…9/10/12: “…….. rejected claims the RSPCA was unwilling to collaborate with other animal welfare organisations, adding that “discussions have been undertaken, and continue to be undertaken, with a number of community-based rescue groups”.
b) Letter sent to a NSW Member of Parliament
“I belong to a group of volunteers who rescue Alaskan Malamutes in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. We also assist in rehoming Australia wide. We are a deductible gift recipient with charity status, have public liability insurance, and all have our own malamutes www.amraa.org.au or facebook – Alaskan malamute Rehoming Aid. We have rescued over 100 Alaskan Malamutes in the last 2 ½ years in NSW alone of which 99% have been successfully rehomed.
Only one dog has been euthenased due to temperament issues and only one has not been rescued from the pound, due to issues with temperament. Otherwise we have taken all the dogs that we have been aware of in pounds – so we do not pick and choose. We enjoy a good relationship with the Animal Welfare League and many of the pounds around NSW. Our relationship with the RSPCA has been variable.
I am aware of their constraints as a large organisation, however, as a group that has animal advocacy as part of their mission statement, it is distressing that the Rutherford shelter in Newcastle has lacked any desire to allow breed specific rescue to rescue dogs. We are not the only group to find this. (DRP in bold highlight)
There have been 2 recent incidents that have been particularly distressing. There are others, but unfortunately there is a certain amount of secrecy involved in what happens to dogs after they go into care that makes it impossible to get details.
The first incident – 14/7/2012. Diesel a 5 yo Alaskan Malamute was surrendered to Rutherford shelter– unfortunately we were not made aware until a week later by the owner by which time it was too late – Diesel was euthenased 3 days after being surrendered for being dog aggressive. He was a gorgeous boy that I knew personally and was brought up with children. He was fabulous with all people but could be selective with his doggie companions, a trait that is common to many Alaskan malamutes, particularly if they are of the same sex. People are the same and can like certain individuals and not others, dogs are not given the same luxury at the RSPCA.
I would argue that the Rutherford shelter did not give him time to settle into a new and distressing environment before making the decision. Unfortunately, Malamutes in a kennel environment, can be aggressive to other dogs, particularly if tested with dogs of the same sex. It is a known trait of the breed. I challenge that a formal assessment was done. I know of a number of other malamutes that have been surrendered to this shelter and have not appeared for adoption and I would be interested to see statistics for the percentage of malamutes that are rehomed from the RSPCA after surrender. It would be interesting to see the numbers of malamutes rehomed as a percentage surrendered at this shelter, I suspect it is negligible and may indicate a bias against the breed.
The second incident – 22nd August, same shelter. We were made aware of an 18 month old male who had been surrendered. We were informed by an interested member of the public who was unable to get the owner to reclaim and wanted us to intervene as the dog was a lovely animal that had not been treated well. On this occasion, we informed the shelter we were aware of the dog and wished to intervene and rescue if he failed temperament assessment on dog aggression. As way of explanation an 18 month old malamute is a teenager in the middle of his testosterone surge and will challenge any male dog and again, it is not surprising, he failed his temperament assessment on dog aggression. Despite offering to take full responsibility and trying to educate the shelter manager on breed traits, we, as a breed specific rescue were refused. So he too was euthenased.
We have rescued a number of dogs from other RSPCA shelters that have failed dog to dog assessment and have successfully rehomed all of them. They are now well behaved doggie citizens and able to be taken to dog parks even though they were tested as dog aggressive and failed assessments at the RSPCA. We do not wish to rescue dogs that are not able to be rehomed due to any form of human aggression, but in the right home with knowledgeable owners, these dogs make fabulous companions and are not a threat to society.
Steve Coleman has contacted me and has said that consistency with dealing with rescues was being looked at. I am writing to ensure this doesn’t get brushed under the table. If we can’t stop back yard breeding, puppy farmers and idiot owners, can the rescue organisations that understand the breed and can at least rehome appropriately, be given a chance to rescue these magnificent animals and be treated with some respect to assist organisations, such as the RSPCA, to do so?
We can only make their life easier by taking dogs they consider to be difficult and requiring special types of homes. I would guarantee that we know and understand a lot more about Alaskan Malamutes than many of the shelter staff or behaviourists doing assessments and can be far more selective in our rehoming.”
DRP Comment: conflicting information….???
Action you can take:
Email Steve Coleman and ask him specifically which Rescue Groups RSPCA NSW work with : firstname.lastname@example.org; it’s a fair question.