The numbers continue to increase…….. 2007-2008 NSW pound statistics available

We’ve just completed a summary of all the available pound and shelter statistics for NSW. As predicted by rescue groups, the number of animals entering pounds has increased yet again, from 118,558 in the previous year, to 126,004. Total animals killed was up from 56,531 to 63,651…..and that figure doesn’t include the greyhound population, so you can add a few thousand more to that figure. Download the summary figures here…..

It beggars belief that DPI Minister Ian MacDonald has this to say “A great deal of progress has been made recently on the issue of welfare of animals in pet shops and the government is ensuring that there will be ongoing improvements in pet breeding activities. Consequently the NSW Government does not support an inquiry into the pet industry” (Read more here…)

CEO Kristina Vesk of the Cat Protection Society says this:

 “We knew it was a disaster but looking at the numbers, the scale is just enormous.

We can’t measure how many cats were ‘dumped’ but we imagine it was considerable seeing the enormous increase in cats taken to pounds and shelters. And I hate to say it, but we think that there are people who kill kittens and cats ‘at home’ (ie not taking them to the vet to be euthanased but doing things like drowning litters of kittens).

The outcome for cats is always worse than for dogs.

From the figures, this means 39% of dogs entering pounds are euthanased versus 68% of cats. It is interesting too, that more cats are taken to RSPCA, AWL & CPS than pounds – I am not surprised. Councils seem to feel obliged to ‘deal’ with dogs (fearing the reaction around dangerous dogs etc) but often tell people that they ‘can’t do anything’ about cats.

This means that they push the ‘cat problem’, and the cost of dealing with it, onto charities. Reasons people gave for bringing cats to us and not their pound included being directed to do so by their council (rather than even telling people what their local pound was) or the pound insisting on payment of a fee that people either could not or would not pay. 

Hence we have ended up with a record number of cats that there simply weren’t homes or room for. And we ended up deficit funding just trying to manage the situation. As I said, no more. We can’t afford to act as a de facto pound for all of Sydney’s poor homeless cats. At the end of the day though, the outcome for the cats is the same. Too many cats + not enough homes = a death sentence.

 We have written to the Minister for Local Government pointing out that councils are contributing to feline overpopulation by releasing undesexed kittens from pounds (7 of 14 we surveyed do this). They include the cost of desexing in the price, but rely on people to go back some time later to the facility or a vet to have the cat desexed (typically advising this be done at 5-6 months). Too late! Those kittens can already have kittens of their own (and typically do). Early age desexing has been safely practised for more than 20 years – what are these pounds doing?

Kristina Vesk, CEO, Cat Protection Society NSW

DRP Comment: So what progress has the NSW Department of primary Industry actually made…..that will stop the killing?

What do you think of the progress Government has made this year? Should we invite Government Ministers to be the ones to make the decision as to who lives and who dies next Friday??

If you live in States outside of NSW, can you tell us what you know about the numbers in your State?

Pet Industry blocks suburban animal rescue centres

For  Immediate Release – Sydney, January 18th 2009      From: CatRescue NSW

Pet Industry blocks suburban animal rescue centres-
“Industry claims community rescue centres will impact pet shop profits”

Sydney NSW. The NSW Pet Industry has knocked back a proposed idea to allow council and community groups to set up small suburban rehoming centres for abandoned animals as they see it would compete with the profits of Pet Industry members, says CatRescue, the group who have pitched the idea.

The program, which is part of a 10 point plan proposed by CatRescue to help address Pet Overpopulation, came about after reviewing similar successful programs in other parts of Australia and around the world.

“The problem is that council pounds are located literally miles away from the general public, in the bush. They are open very odd hours and aren’t exactly good rehoming. Whilst you are interviewing a potential new home, three more people are waiting in a queue behind you to dump their poor sick animals”

“Our proposal is to use some of the Companion Animal Fund, the money that is set aside to reduce the problems of animal overpopulation, and work with council to set up suburban rehousing stations, that way we can have better access to people. Similarly, community groups will get onboard and assist in driving people, information and support to the rehousing station”

“They wouldn’t compete with Pet Shops as all we do is find new homes for animals, in fact, any smart pet shop owner would partner with the program and get the flow on product revenues”

But PIAA’s newsletter, “Pet News” has come out in angry opposition, claiming the idea is part of a socialist policy driven by PETA aimed at “destroying private industry and replacing it with government run stores “. “The Australian puppets of PETA should decide what their ultimate intention is” it said in it’s Jan 14th publication

“I don’t know what they are on about” said CatRescue. “We wouldn’t know a PETA person if they walked up in the street and bit us, all we want to do is find homes for thousands of dumped animals, no conspiracies, just getting the job done”

CatRescue and a number of other members of the Community program are pursuing the program nonetheless, with the first proposed rehousing station likely to open early this year.

More information contact Derek Knox or Kelly Lachman at CatRescue

First national pet rehoming program of its kind in Australia

Announcement: Well done!!

PetRescue and PETstock join forces to bring rescue pets out of cages and into the community. In the first national pet rehoming program of its kind in Australia, PetRescue and PETstock are proud to announce the 2009 In-Store adoption program.

The program will link rescues groups with PETstock stores, giving rescue pets the opportunity to meet and interact with potential adopters in store. PETstock General Manager of Marketing, Matt Taylor said, “PETstock is very excited about joining forces with PetRescue and the many hundreds of shelters they support around the country. Too many people will purchase a new puppy or kitten in a pet store without really thinking about what is required to responsibly own this animal and this subsequently results in the animal ending up in a shelter. Through our large number of stores and our strong online presence (www.petstock.com.au ) we think we can help PetRescue make a real difference and rehome these animals to families who can and will care for them properly.

Adoption advisors will be on hand to help adopters choose the best pet for their family. All pets in the program will come vet checked, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and de-sexed and ready to go to their new homes. Finding the ideal rescue pet has never been easier!

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.

DODGY pet shop owners will face tough new penalties

Article from: Daily Telegraph By Lauren Williams
DODGY pet shop owners will face tough new penalties for maltreatment of animals under new state government regulations to be introduced next week.
Minors will also be banned from buying pets under the overhaul, and a mandatory three-day cooling-off period will be introduced to stop impulse buys. The move follows attempts by Clover Moore to introduce a drastic law banning pet shops altogether, claiming irresponsible breeding practices and impulse buys were out of control.
Pet shop owner Bob Croucher said the changes were a good “half-way point” and would give the RSPCA teeth to deal with pet stores doing the wrong thing.
“Things like small pens with too many animals and especially impulse buys are a problem for a minority of pet shops,” he said
The new laws give RSPCA patrol officers power to investigate stores and issue minimum $200 on-the-spot-fines. They will also specify pen and cage sizes for different animals and force shopowners to supply written information on how to care for purchased pets.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steven Coleman said his staff receive 200-300 complaints annually about pet shop conditions.“This will make it clear and fair as to what is required of pet shops and what is required of us to monitor them,” he said. He said the penalty system acted as a good incentive for owners to act ethically in the first instance and would tackle the problem of impulse buys.“Buying the animal is the cheapest part of owning an animal,” he said.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said, while the majority of pet shops operate in a highly professional way and already met the new standards, “these changes are aimed at bringing all pet shop retailers up to the same level”.