News from the US: Want to watch a great success story in the making?

It’s called “Residents Must Spay, Neuter their Cats & Dogs

– Clark County introduces spay and neuter laws”

This film shows how Clark County Nevada has created some really great ideas to stem the flow of animals in their community.

To watch this inspirational short film, click here…

DRP Comment:

What is stopping us doing this here? Why do we have to lag the US by ten years?

Actions you can take:

Lobby your Council to introduce better desexing regimes. Low cost de-sexing clinics and public education is the way to go.


News from NSW – where to now? We have lost a battle, but we have not lost the war! Part 2

It is often commented that other countries like the UK, and the Netherlands have done a far better job of companion animal welfare than we have. The UK has a population of around 63 million, and around 60,000 cats and dogs are killed in their pounds and shelters. We have a population of only 21 million and we manage to kill over 250,000. Four times as many killed, with a third of their population. Figure that one out

What has worked well in the UK, and we know as we lived there and have good contacts with the UK Dogs Trust, is that the animal welfare groups have done a brilliant job of educating the public that buying your pet from a pet shop or back yard breeder is just wrong, and that desexing is a must. Also the UK has stricter breeder legislation, managed by their Councils. In the UK anyone breeding has to have a licence, with strict controls on breeding practices, and that licence is renewable annually. Desexing is far more accepted in the UK than here – it’s just what you do when you get a pet.

And the peak animal welfare bodies like the Dogs Trust, the RSPCA etc have worked hard over the last 20 years to get these messages out, and to influence the public that a homeless pet from a rehoming centre is the ‘right choice’. They work really well with Council Pounds in rehoming animals from state of the art rehoming centres that are a pleasure to visit, always accessible to the public, and staffed by customer friendly people

See  to see what we mean.

Of course pet shops try every now and then to sell puppies and kittens, even the famous Harrods tries it on. The difference is that the weight of public opinion is so strong, that the practice soon stops.

In other words, the rehoming groups for unwanted cats and dogs have done a very credible job of disenfranchising pets shops and back yard breeders selling puppies and kittens.

We need to get to this situation here in Australia.

It is said that there are 4 groups of people:

Group 1: Those who are already active in the solution – either rescue work or activism: rescue workers, shelter volunteers, foster carers, fund raisers, charity shelters, some Government and Council management, advocacy groups etc

Group 2: Those who know there is a problem, are happy to sign a petition or two, and would do the right thing. Strategy: motivate to join group 1 ie become more active in the solution

Group 3: Those who don’t know there is a problem, or what causes it, and could be elevated to Group 2. Strategy: motivate to join Group 2 or 1

Group 4: Those who don’t know there is a problem, and would never care if they did know. Strategy: ignore them

We need to reach Group 3 – we have to believe that if you give people the right information, they will generally do the right thing. The right thing of course: don’t buy a pet from a pet shop (unless it is a genuine Rescued animal), or from back yard breeders. Get your pet from a rehoming group or pound or shelter. Stop people giving animals as gifts. Find alternatives to surrendering their pets. Desex their animals.

Actions you can take:

For this reason, we really like the new website “Give Pets A Chance”.

It’s full of relevant and useful information about the problem and its solutions. It gives the public the information required in order to make better choices. Above all, the site will reach out to more and more people as the PR clicks in.  Please visit the site, please forward the address to as many people as you can, and please give generously so that the group can place important advertisements in the national and local media that reach out to the public.

Finally, Please contact us with your ideas as to how we can PROGRESSIVELY and ASSERTIVELY reach out to the general public and give them the information they need to:

  • Understand what goes on in the pet industry (support;
  • Give a homeless animal in a shelter or pound a loving home – make homeless pets a first choice if they want a pet
  • Never to buy a puppy or kitten from a Pet Shop or Backyard Breeder
  • Stop people buying pets as gifts
  • Desex all household pets

No Kill News – can we do this here in Australia? Affordable, low cost desexing program funded by New York City

We received this exciting release of news from Companion Animal Network TV in New York

“Dear Friends of Animals,
This Saturday July 25 at NY City Animal Care and Control (“NYCACC”) in Manhattan,  New York City’s animals and their guardians are finally getting what has long been needed, a super low cost mobile veterinary hospital with full surgical capabilities for limited income pet parents, rescue groups, and rescue adoptions. Whereas the ASPCA has taken the lead in operating five low cost and free Spay Neuter vans for limited income pet parents, the new Vet Mobile will only be providing full veterinary services to those qualified pet parents, not spay neuters. The launch of the Vet Mobile is being celebrated in conjunction with the Mayor’s Alliance for NY City Animals, North Shore Animal League, and NYCACC. North Shore Animal League will be featuring the NYCACC foster animals in their 40 ft. Mobile Adoption Van. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals will be providing $10 microchips, including registration.

Next Wednesday, July 29th, the Vet Mobile will premiere at the Brooklyn NYCACC. Thereafter the Vet Mobile will be in front of the NYCACC in Manhattan every Saturday 12-6, and Brooklyn every Wednesday 12-6. As soon as the Vet Mobile is financially breaking even, it will expand to being assigned one day per week at the Staten Island and Bronx NYCACC also.

An exam is just $25, and vaccinations only $10. Free ID tags are provided for all patients, both dogs and cats. All services will be at the super low cost prices already established by the Safety Net Program, which has been preventing surrenders to NYCACC for the past four years. The Vet Mobile is an extension of the Safety Net Program, so that qualified pet parents have access to full veterinary  services at extremely low rates. Proof of limited income or rescue adoption or rescue rehoming is necessary for qualification. For more information see News Release below.


 NEW YORK, NY (July 20, 2009) – On Saturday, July 25, New Yorkers will get their first glimpse of the “Low Cost Vet Mobile” – a new mobile veterinary clinic created to help cash-strapped New Yorkers at risk of having to give up their companion animals because they can no longer afford their veterinary care. The program, developed by Garo Alexanian of Companion Animal Network and staffed by local veterinarians, will provide pet owners with affordable, preventive veterinary care and also a first step in developing relationships with veterinarians within their community.
To celebrate the launch, AC&C will host a special pet adoption promotion from noon until 7:00 pm, where dozens of wonderful dogs and cats will be available for adoption both inside the shelter and on a North Shore Animal League America adoption van parked curbside. Adoption fees for adult cats (over one year old) will be waived. In addition, vaccinations for dogs and cats will be available for $10 on the Vet Mobile, and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals will offer extra-low-cost ($10 microchipping for cats and dogs between noon and 6:00 pm.
Traditionally, many low-income pet owners do not seek preventive veterinary care for their pets, and when their pets become ill, they surrender them to AC&C. In today’s particularly challenging economy, the number of these animals arriving at AC&C shelters has skyrocketed. “The mobile clinic will help so many pet owners that are having trouble making ends meet and caring for a sick pet at the same time,” says Richard Gentles, AC&C’s spokesperson. “We applaud Garo’s initiative, and the timing couldn’t be better.”
By providing another means of access to affordable veterinary care to low-income New York City pet owners, the Low Cost Vet Mobile is expected to substantially reduce the number of animals surrendered to city shelters, which already are at full capacity. “I expect the program will prevent approximately 5,000 surrenders over the course of a year,” says Alexanian. “This can translate to a 12-15 percent reduction in shelter intakes.”
Stemming the tide of preventable pet surrenders is crucial to the success of current efforts underway in New York City to reduce, and eventually end, the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at city shelters simple because they do not have homes, according to Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals – the organization that spearheads the city’s efforts to become a no-kill community under a multi-million-dollar grant from Maddie’s Fund®, the Pet Rescue Foundation. “The Low Cost Vet Mobile provides another important alternative for our city’s pet owners who don’t want to part with their companion animals.” Among other programs currently available to these pet owners are the Safety Net/Pets for Life NYC program, low-cost vet care at the Humane Society of New York Veterinary Hospital in Manhattan, and the Bensonhurst Low Cost Animal Clinic in Brooklyn.
Dr. Elizabette Cohen, DVM, host of the radio program “Happy and Healthy Pet,” and author of the book Most of My Patients Wear Fur, will be the veterinarian on duty for the Low Cost Vet Mobile’s Manhattan launch on July 25, and also for the van’s premiere at AC&C’s Brooklyn shelter on Wednesday, July 29. At both launch events, Dr. Cohen will consult with patients, provide tours of the van, and also sign copies of her book, for which she will donate 100% of the proceeds from the days’ book sales to AC&C.
Going forward, the Low Cost Vet Mobile’s location will alternate between Animal Care & Control’s Manhattan and Brooklyn locations, where it will provide assistance to pet owners at two of the busiest points of entry to the New York City shelter system.”
 About Companion Animal Network
Companion Animal Network (C.A.N.) was the force behind the creation of the NYC Animal Care and Control. Four years ago C.A.N founded the nation’s first surrender prevention program, and now it is launching the Low Cost Vet Mobile. C.A.N. has been acknowledged by the New York City Council in Resolution #985 for its efforts to bring improvements to the animal control services of New York City.
About Animal Care & Control of NYC
Animal Care & Control of New York City rescues over 43,000 animals each year, making the organization the largest pet rescue and adoption agency in the North East. Since 1995, the not-for-profit organization has been responsible for New York City’s municipal shelter system, caring for rescued animals and finding loving homes for homeless, injured, neglected, abused and abandoned animals in all five of the boroughs in New York City.
About the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie’s Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, is a coalition of more than 160 animal rescue groups and shelters that are working with the City of New York to find homes for every cat and dog in the city that needs one. For more information about the Mayor’s Alliance, its participating organizations, and pet adoptions, please visit the Mayor’s Alliance web site at .

DRP Comment:

We badly need to get low-cost desexing programs running in every Council area across the country. Subsidised desexing has been shown to create dramatic results – and in the end saves council and tax payer money. Isn’t this a smarter alternative to collecting, housing and then killing thousands of healthy animals?

Let us know about any such initiatives you are seeing in Australia!

The 2009 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation

The 2009 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation will be held September 30 – October 02 at the Gold Coast International Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.   

We recommend this conference to you very highly – the only one of its kind in Australia. You will learn about all the recent developments and progress from representatives of each State Government and others involved in Rescue across the country.

Most importantly, you will hear the important voice of NATHAN WINOGRAD (click here for Nathan’s Bio), the author of acclaimed book “Redemption” and current Director of the No Kill Advocacy Centre.

As we wrote at length in our last DRP Update, we heard Nathan speak at the No Kill Conference in Washington in May. If you have any interest at all in the companion animal over-population and un-necessary pound killing problem in Australia, you will want to hear Nathan speak, and attend his working session

We are pleased to announce the registration and program papers for the 3rd National Summit to End Companion Animal Overpopulation are now  available at the following link:

Nathan’s important message will likely focus Australia on the wherewithal to implement and drive an Australian No Kill journey. We anticipate that his attendance at the Conference will be an important turning point in our recognition of the need to influence all the major animal welfare charities and rescue shelters to get onto the No Kill journey here in Australia.

The curse of Christmas…….

“I’m a volunteer and committee member for an organisation call K9 Dog Rescue near Mandurah Western Australia. We’re fully volunteer operated and donation funded. We are currently licensed to hold 40 dogs, but we hover around the 28-30 on average.  Last year we found homes for over 700 pound dogs, and we collect from the local pounds on Mondays and Wednesdays, usually taking in 10-12 dogs a week (excluding puppies).

After Christmas, this year our office was swamped with calls from people wanting to surrender Christmas dogs. We’re talking 2 weeks afterwards. Some of the other people came and just dumped dogs on our doorstep.

One story I can tell you: There was a young idiot there one day waiting with a puppy, it was the last of a litter of 11 (obviously the runt), that he hadn’t been able to sell over Christmas obviously. He wanted us to take it. The office staff asked him if he was going to get his dog steralised now…………. “NO! I want another litter” was his reply.  

Honestly, this is what we are dealing with.”

DRP Comment: this true story just highlights the attitude of irresponsible back yard breeders

If you faced this individual, what would you say to him?

RSPCA Queensland tries new approach to increase rehoming for cats and dogs

Courier News: “THE Queensland branch of the RSPCA has broken ranks with the organisation interstate by selling refuge animals in commercial pet shops.

Cats and dogs from RSPCA shelters go on sale today at Petbarn in Lawnton, just north of Brisbane, and the RSPCA’s World for Pets Superstore at Springwood in Logan City, south of Brisbane.

If the trial is successful, other Petbarns and pet shops across the state will be offered RSPCA animals…..”


DRP comment: the article speaks about the RSPCA ‘selling’ animals, but we consider this an innacurate label to a trial designed to rehome more rescued animals AND replace traditional pet shop sourced puppies and kittens. RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend told us:

I picked 4 pet shops that I were believed were “good” examples of pet shops and then sent our Scientific Officer out to inspect the premises with an extensive checklist. The pet shop owners were aware of why we were doing the Inspection and were very open to us.  At this point we started with just one of those pet shops.

I really believe it can make a differences by getting undesexed animals from unknown sources out of petshops and replace them with desexed RSPCA animals that need a home.

This has been done completely independently of PIAA.”

We say: “Well done RSPCA Queensland”

Tell us what you think! We’re interested in your views!

Behavioural assessment in Australian animal shelters

Thousands of dogs are relinquished to Australian animal shelters each year. Prior to being made available for adoption, dogs undergo a behavioural assessment to determine their suitability as companions. Dogs that pass the assessment are made available for adoption, whereas those that fail are usually euthanased. This is potentially problematic for several reasons; not only do current protocols used to assess adoption suitability lack standardisation in their content and methodology, very few have been presented in the peer reviewed literature.

This is an extract from a paper presented at last year’s National Desexing Network summit to end pet overpopulation.

How would your own dog react in an unfamiliar and extremely stressful situation to a multitude of strange objects, noise and activities, other dogs and people? Would your dog grab and shake a dolly or stuffed toy? If so your dog would most likely be on the long list to be destroyed.

This paper reports that two thirds (77%) of assessment staff who responded to the survey reported that they had received training in the assessment of shelter dogs whereas one third (33%) reported that they had not received training. BUT the most common form of training was ‘on the job’ training (59%) followed by ‘attended a seminar/completed a course’ (33%).

So in a nutshell, there is no standard and properly researched and reported method for a behavioural assessment and the majority of those that carry out the assessment have not had any proper formal training.

Yet the life of each animal they assess rests in their hands….This is just not good enough.