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RSPCA QLD: Incoming for dogs 18,583 – killed 35% Incoming for cats 15,696 – killed 60% 759

animals admitted per 100,000 people RSPCA VIC: Incoming for dogs 12,439 – killed 15% Incoming for cats 10,875 – killed 57% 418 animals admitted per 100,000 people RSPCA NT: Incoming for dogs 740 – killed 30% Incoming for cats 634 – killed 35% 592 animals admitted per 100,000 people RSPCA TAS: Incoming for dogs 1,690 – killed 14% Incoming for cats 3,168 – killed 52% 950 animals admitted per 100,000 people

Authored by M. McKenzie

In Our Own Backyard
The Royal Society For The Protection Of Animals (RSPCA) was first established in Australia in 1871 and they state “Since our humble beginnings, the RSPCA have evolved to become a leader in animal welfare”. I could guess that most people in Australia view the RSPCA as a great organisation that saves and rehomes animals in their care. What is going to happen when Australia finds out that they have been conned? The following statistics come from individual 2010/2011 Annual Reports, except WA & NT which were derived from RSPCA Australia (due to discrepancies, non existent and vague Annual Reports). RSPCA NSW: Incoming for dogs 20,975 - killed 39% Incoming for cats 20,703 - killed 64% 575 admitted animals per 100,000 people RSPCA SA: Incoming for dogs 4,134 – killed 24% Incoming for cats 3,991 – killed 65% Highest kill rate: Whyalla cats 81% 493 animals admitted per 100,000 people

RSPCA WA: Incoming for dogs 1,549 – killed 18% Incoming for cats 1,001 – killed 27% 106 animals admitted per 100,000 RSPCA ACT: Incoming for dogs 1,747 – killed 6% Incoming for cats 2,842 – killed 33% 1240 animals admitted per 100,000 people For the year 2010-2011, the RSPCA shelters combined killed over 54,000 shelter pets. This number does not include free roaming cat kill statistics, only domestic cats. Which indicates that 54,000 is much higher. RSPCA ACT has implemented 10 out of the 11 no kill programs. The Director, Michael Linke says that “to truly succeed you need to implement all of the strategies available to you and keep at it”. His determination saves 94% of dogs, 67% of cats and this year has reached 90% of kittens.

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So why does one RSPCA shelter stand far above the rest? Linke is the only RSPCA Director that has attended the Washington DC based No Kill Conference, has lead a seminar at the conference titled 'Overcoming Obstacles To Success' and takes an interest in no kill. His personal views on rehoming shelter pets are at a high standard and he refuses to start killing shelter pets for fast cash and empty cages. Linke says that “Saving lives is not hard, it's convincing people that it's not hard” is the key. Linke has been communicating with other RSPCA's for a long time, encouraging them to Michael Linke implement the life saving programs. Linke, like any other shelter, has an influx of kittens. So what did he do? He built a kittery, a dedicated space for nursing queens, young kittens, undesexed weaned kittens, added more staff and a kitten foster program – he removed the excuses to kill. RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said that “No Kill organisations are unrealistic. Unlike some No Kill shelters, RSPCA takes every animal that comes its way and as a consequence, some animals will have to be euthanased”. Coleman refers to NSW large intake as the reason to kill, but his intake per capita is less than half of ACT and he has a larger population to market the shelter pets. Even though there are over 50 communities in the USA that are no kill (both open and closed admission) and Linke proving year after year that an Australian shelter can have high save rates for shelter pets, Coleman and the other state Directors prefer the kill method. Directors of kill shelters around Australia have stated that some of the reasons they will not implement no kill is: . need tougher laws . too many animals, not enough homes . need more money . don't like the term no kill

Implementing 'tougher' laws for pet owners has proven to fail and even worse can increase the shelters incoming and kill rate. Two examples include: 1. An ACT study that implemented mandatory desexing in dogs and cats aged 6 months or over. The Australian Veterinary Association concluded that it was a “unsuccessful, wasteful and expensive management tool”. 2. Breed Specific Legislation, a law that promises to make our communities safer, has not decreased dog bites and is killing well behaved family pets. The Australian Companion Animal Council Inc. report states that Australians purchased 610,500 dogs and cats in 2009. Australian shelters killed approximately 250,000 dogs and cats every year. There isn't a pet overpopulation and there are enough homes. The only thing killing shelter pets is the Pentobarbital filled needle entering its vein. Many of the open admission shelters in the USA did not have millions in the bank when they decided to go no kill. Their no kill initiative saved on killing and disposal costs, reduced expenditures and increased their revenue. Mitch Schneider, former Director for Washoe County Regional Animal Services, Nevada states, “no matter what any of us believes, we ultimately won't know if we don't try. If in fact no kill failed, I didn't want it to be because I didn't like the term...I knew it could still be better than now.” The reasons for failing to increase shelter pet save rates is pathetic. But what is more pathetic is that they continue to put their pride and bank balances in front of the lives of shelter pets they have promised to care and protect. The Gillard Government needs to seriously consider using the success the RSPCA ACT has accomplished by enforcing no kill legislation for all Australian shelters.
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