Monthly Archives: September 2013

From the Animal Adoption’s Desk

Shifts at the adoption desk are full of surprises, challenges, and inspiring stories, which we either witness firsthand, or hear of from fellow volunteers, new RSPCA families, and other supporters. We decided to start a blog to share some of these tales, in the hope that, by reading and taking action, you can help us turn the stories of as many animals as possible into dreams come true. Happy reading!

Scruffy’s Big Adopt Out

Post 30.09.12 - Scruffy_AID 731350_ Adopted 30.09.13_1

This playful Bull Arab cross was one of the animals who we hoped would meet his dream family at our Big Adopt Out event last Saturday, September 21. The massive adoption event was like speed dating for shelter animals and prospective owners, and it was love at first sight when one family saw Scruffy’s friendly face. However, Scruffy returned to our Wacol campus after the big day. His brief return to shelter life was interrupted when the same family came to meet him a week later, this time with all family members present. Scruffy and the family were again delighted with each other and, after the appropriate paperwork and checks were completed, Scruffy left for his forever home. We’re sure that the lovable 18-month-old will relish the company of two loving parents and older boys, and we know that they’ll enjoy a lifetime of his company as much as we did two months.

Find your perfect pet these school holidays

Last week kicked off school holidays, and we were pleased that many families spent some of their time off visiting our campuses. We’re looking forward to meeting more visitors in the second week of school holidays, and are more than happy to assist families in meeting and greeting prospective pets. As well as cats and dogs, we also have pocket pets, reptiles, and farm animals available for adoption.

In fact, our Wacol campus barnyard is currently home to a herd of goats in need of loving homes. Like all goats, the 10 we are caring for are full of personality, and they’re all very agile, inquisitive, and playful. The herd’s numbers have grown since mid-August, and the mismatched bunch of Alpine, Australian Miniature, Saneen and Boer mixes have formed many friendships over apples and chaff. See some of favourite barnyard images below, or drop in to meet them in person:

Post 30.09.13 - Gilly _ AID 733889

Post 30.09.13 - Gabe_ AID 733888.

Goats are obviously herd animals, so they are best kept in groups –preferably in a pair of goats, but they have been known to bond with many other animals, including livestock and dogs. If you have room in your heart (and well-fenced yard) for an energetic animal friend, here are the details of some of the goats currently available for adoption:

• Betty – small female Alpine cross, AID: 739888
• Heniz – juvenile male Australian Miniature cross, AID: 738802
• Gilly – adult Saneen cross, arrived with Gabe AID: 733889 (above top)
• Gabe – adult Australian Miniature cross, arrived with Gilly AID: 733888 (above bottom)
• Dill – male Boer cross AID: 736325.

Phone 1300 364 443 if you’re interested in adopting a goat or other animal from RSPCA Qld. Remember that council permissions may be required to keep goats, and that there may be restrictions dependent on property size and zoning.

Paws for thought

Paws for thought We recently received two success stories with a common thread – these playful boys both have a penchant for ‘helping’ their owners work from home. Check out their pawsitively distracting poses:

Post 30.09.13 - Kobe_AID 706123_ Story 08.08.13_Adopted 26.06.13

Kobe (above) is relaxing in his new home after spending the first months of his life at our Wacol campus. The tabby was surrendered the day after his birth in late March. Fosters exposed him to family life, and he’s received a rave review from his new owner, Tracey: “He is really good natured and entertains us with his playful behaviour… I’m very pleased with how well he has been kitty-litter trained, thanks heaps!” AID: 706123

Post 30.09.13 - Ralph_AID 726968_Story 08.08.13

As you can see, Ralph (above) has the same approach to working from home. The five-month-old tabby has helped his owner with many editing shifts over the past two months. His owner Denise said that Ralph is the perfect ‘colleague’, and admitted that he was napping on her desk as she wrote the following email: “Ralph has settled in very well to our small family… I work from home when I’m not travelling for work and he’s become quite the companion….” AID: 726968

Ex-long-termer makes brave donation

December 12, 2012, was a very lucky day for Bull Arab cross Brock and his foster family. After six months at the RSPCA, Brock found his perfect place in the world when he was in foster with a couple and their Boxer, Sophie. Foster-carer and vet nurse Kaitlyn reported that Brock cried a bit, but that his new-found friendship with Sophie really “brought him out of his shell.” Kaitlyn and her partner decided to add to their family by adopting Brock. He and Sophie now play all the time, and love going to the beach and the dog park.

Post 30.09.13 - Brock_AID652088_Adopted 12.12.12_1

Nine months on from Brock’s adoption, Kaitlyn found a way to ‘pay it forward’ this September. When a patient at the veterinary clinic where Kaitlyn works required an urgent blood transfusion, Kaitlyn said she knew the perfect dog for the job: “Brock was very brave, and sat perfectly still for the vet… He saved a life, just like the RSPCA saved his. Thank you to the RSPCA who gave Brock a second chance, so that he was able to give that chance to a fellow canine…” AID: 652088

Post 30.09.13 - Brock_AID652088_Adopted 12.12.12

Thanks!

Thanks for reading our first Adoptions Desk blog, and please check back next week for another update. In the meantime, stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter, and feel free to visit www.rspcaqld.org.au. We’d also love to hear success stories from more RSPCA families – please email any stories and images to digital@rspcaqld.org.au for possible publication.

Cheers, The Adoptions Team

Our first Big Adopt Out and the story of Swan Lake

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What a day! Our first Big Adopt Out at the RNA on Saturday could not have gone better. Well Ok, maybe there is a bit of tweaking to do but all in all for our first run it was amazingly successful. It was really heartening to see all the rescue and welfare groups come together for what is, after all, a common cause and what we’re all about. Friends of the Hound were rapt because at the end of the day they had 25 people who said they definitely wanted to adopt a greyhound and Red Collar Rescue had to send for more dogs because they’d run out. By the end of the day 104 dogs had been rehomed and another 66 were on hold.

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While driving in, I got a call that nearly made me drive off the road.

“There’s been a fight!”

“Oh No!” Visions of massive canine carnage sprung to mind.

“Not a dog fight! A human fight!”

Blimey! It was only just after 9am and it wasn’t as if the RNA was in the middle of the Valley. Anyway we’re not exactly sure what caused it but the Police dealt with it. I’m assured it wasn’t that they both wanted to adopt the same dog!

This week saw the hearing of the appeal of the sentence handed down to Wayne Hartwig over the brutal bashing of two Alpacas at Caboolture High School last October. One of the Alpacas died and the other had to be euthanased because of the extent of its injuries. The case made headlines throughout Australia and there was massive community outrage. Hartwig was originally sentenced to six months but was released on immediate parole. Thankfully the Attorney General appealed the sentence as being “manifestly inadequate.”

Our Chief Inspector in charge of Prosecutions Annabel Buchanan and I both attended the hearing in the Supreme Court and realised the appeal was actually being based on a point of law. Anyway the judges have reserved their decision which should come within a month.

And now to the matter of “Swan Lake”. This is another decision that is already sparking major community concern.

swan

The lake at the Port of Brisbane, named Swan Lake due to the large numbers of Black Swans, is set to be filled in by the new owners Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd and replaced with a parking lot for new car arrivals awaiting to go to dealers.

More than 160 species of birds have been recorded in the lake and its surroundings, and 50-70 species can be found there on most days. This picturesque scene was created by the previous publicly owned authority as an environmental lake as part of the drainage strategy for the benefit of nature and the wider community. An award winning restaurant, café, theatrette and visitor centre has been built on its shore and this is also earmarked to be demolished after operating for only a decade.

Environmental and animal welfare groups, (RSPCA Qld included), have formed a strong alliance representing tens of thousands of supporters and we’re determined to stop what we call cruel environmental vandalism.

It’s simply not necessary for this to happen. 1,000 birds are normally seen in and around the lake at any one time. These include bush birds such as Fairy-wrens and Honeyeaters that frequent the landscaped gardens that are also under threat.

swan-lake-brisbane

Reports commissioned by the Port showed that the iconic Black Swans were seen in every survey, sometimes 200 were sighted. Where are they all going to go? Port also reported no breeding birds were found. However only two visits were made, both outside the breeding season!”

What concerns me and I’m sure will concern the Brisbane public is that this whole area was set aside to offset the original damage done to environment. You can’t turn around a few years later and say “Sorry we’re taking it back!” It just makes a mockery of any environmental agreements agreed to by any company, including mining companies. Surely we need to be looking into the future. The area can become a wonderful tourist attraction. The infrastructure is already there. An established bird paradise should not be replaced by concrete to park cars. It doesn’t make sense and it won’t make sense to any Queenslander.

The RSPCA is also concerned about the possible animal welfare issues because these birds will be forced from their home into areas that are already under pressure from an influx of inland waterbirds suffering from the drought. They may well starve to death. It’s also a shame to lose a potentially world class educational facility.”

The Port claims that it has “no choice” but to fill in the lake, but the Swan Lake Alliance says there are numerous alternatives and this lake and its surrounds are only 1.5% of the area available to Port.

Finally this week some good news from the Wildlife Hospital. (Thanks to Yvette for allowing me to poach from your Pack news.) The staff and vollies received two patients whose stories reminded them that there are still people in the community who really do care about wildlife and are happy to do what they can to help our native friends.

Tuppence the barn owl

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Tuppence is an adorable 40-day-old barn owl. She (we’re making an assumption, as we can’t be sure of her gender) was found in a paddock at the bottom of her nest tree. An ambulance was sent to reunite her with her parents, but the nest was way too high. Because dogs were in the area, she was brought back to us for care. After a night in our Wildlife Hospital, a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and then more time in our hospital, her finders were contacted and were happy to help reunite her with her family.

The finders built a ladder for her to hop back into her nest. It was a success and she has since learnt to fly and flown off into the world. She will stay in the area for a little while to mooch off of mum and dad, but she will become independent and head off to find her own mate and start her own family.

Commando the possum

possum

Commando has been through a very traumatic time. She had a mild infection which caused her to stay on the ground. Then she was kicked by some teenagers. A young member of the public saw the incident and rushed to her aid.

He kept her overnight and fed her, gave her water and kept her warm before bringing her in to us. Luckily she didn’t sustain any serious injuries and was put on pain meds and antibiotics. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, Commando will be released once she has recovered.

As I always say when I’m talking at clubs and functions-working for the RSPCA is a bit like a roller coaster ride. A mixture of the good, the bad and the very ugly. BUT! The Good always outweighs the bad and the ugly!

Michael Beatty
@bt1949

An uphill battle to save Moonbeam

Always very hard when you lose a patient and that happened to me this week. One of our inspectors brought in a little goat that had been surrendered over- the owner had not sort treatment for the goat and he had been lying in a paddock for 2 days.

The little goat ( named Moonbeam by staff )was very weak and unable to stand and had obviously lying in his own faeces and urine for the past couple of days- he was as white as a ghost – which indicated anaemia. This was confirmed with blood tests and further tests revealed that the anaemia was due to worms…so frustrating as anyone who owns goats should know that this a problem and it is so easily preventable. Although we knew it was going to be an uphill battle Moonbeam was place on a drip and started on various medications in an attempt to try and correct  all his problems. We even collected blood from one of our other goats (below) and gave him a blood transfusion as he was so anaemic.

goat
(The brave blood donor to save a friend)

I took him home and set him up in our hospital ( the spare bathroom) – my husband is also a veterinarian and so we often have patients in there – much to the disgust of the resident cat and fortunately visitors were not arriving until the following night . More medications  followed but unfortunately it was too late for Moonbeam and he passed away in the early hours of Wednesday am.

I take some comfort that he was at least warm and comfortable and had a full stomach and was no longer in pain. The owner has other goats and so the inspectors will be making sure that steps are put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen to them.

Anne Chester

Turtles saved from muddy construction site

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I attended the site with Senior Rescue Officer Jo Jordaan and local wildlife carer Annette Bird. We soon found some turtles, trapped in a muddy quagmire at the bottom of an embankment. In some places the mud was knee high which made the rescue a lot more complicated. The workers were very helpful and agreed to stop work on the site while we rescued seven turtles which we then took to our Wildlife Hospital at Wacol. These were very lucky turtles!

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Their veterinary checks were positive and all seven were able to be released the next day. Sadly three other turtles that were brought in by a member of the public did not fare so well. They’re still in the hospital and are suffering from a variety of injuries. We’re all hoping they make it and can be released in days to come.

RSPCA Inspector Allison Smith.

It’s getting hot in the world of animal welfare

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it’s getting hotter! A cold beer tastes even better now and it’s time scrap the roast veges in favour of a cool salad. But spare a thought for your pets. Every year our Inspectors and ambulances have to deal with numerous cases of heat stress. Three dogs died from heat stress last year, two in backyards and one in a car. The sad thing is it’s so easily preventable. At this time of year you should not leave your dog in the car-even if the windows are slightly down.

A couple of years ago we did an experiment with a light coloured sedan. The temperature outside was 30 degrees and within 12 minutes the temperature inside the car was 57 degrees! A dog can die in under six minutes in that kind of heat. If you’re leaving your dog in the yard make certain there is water that can’t be accidently knocked over and that there is adequate shade. One of the dogs that died last year was left on a chain that got entangled on a clothes line and he couldn’t get to shade or water. So please use simple common sense and cover all the bases.

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The Wildlife Hospital is coming into its busiest period of the year. We always see a large number of baby birds and mammals at this time which is to be expected.. But we also see a spike in animals injured by fishing equipment. A beautiful Australasian Gannet that had swallowed a massive fish hook came in the other day. Dr Tania and Dr Bonnie operated and the hook was successfully removed. A great result but this is not the norm. Hundreds of birds in particular are strangled by fishing line that’s been left on the beach or beside creeks and they often face a lingering, painful death. Unable to fly they simply starve to death. So please if you’re going fishing, take your waste with you!

We’ve also had a more than usual number of echidnas in. “Shanghai” had been hit by a car and had to have his leg pinned. He recovered, went to a carer for rehab and was released on the weekend. Great news! Two others are now being treated. “Charlee” who was hit by a car and “John Doe” who was the victim of a dog attack. Hopefully both will recover but Charlee has the added burden of severe constipation! Not sure if echidnas eat prunes as well as insects but it might be worth a shot!

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A Barn Owl that appears to have been hit by a car on George St is also in residence for check ups. I never thought you’d see Barn Owls in the heart of the city but our wildlife department says they are very adaptable. There are birds of a different feather down the road at Parliament House. They are not so adaptable!

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Three of my favourite dogs are now up for adoption. 5 year old Lucy is a beautiful Staffy that was eventually surrendered after she developed high level anxiety and aggression to the other dog in the house after her owner had gone blind. All the professional advice she received suggested euthanasia. Luckily she decided to bring her to us instead. She was sent to foster care at the Arthur Gorrie Remand Centre down the road and has come back a new dog! Most of her anxiety has dissipated and she obeys all the basic commands. Iya is another prison foster success story. She was surrendered because she was climbing six foot fences and her owners decided they couldn’t cope. After some one on one training with our behavioural team she too went out on the prison foster program and has come back much improved. Kevin, one of behavioural team and myself took her to a retirement home the other day and she has also been to schools. She deserves a great forever home. She also went up to Channel 7 to get her photo taken with friend Morrisey and the great Laura Geitz, Australia’s Netball captain and a great supporter of the RSPCA.

I walked into Chief Inspector Annabel’s office today and found her wading through a pile of legal documents. Not surprising the piles of paperwork were so big-this case involving 21 cats has been dragging on for over three years! That’s what is so wrong with the legislation as it stands now. Animals are treated exactly the same as goods and chattels. In other words if we seize an animal because of cruelty or neglect, the animal can’t be rehomed by us until the legal proceedings are concluded. Of course the person being prosecuted can drag out the proceedings as long as they like. Meanwhile we pay all the expenses and aren’t allowed to find the animal a new home. In other words the animal is treated like a car or a TV set or a sofa! It stinks! These 21 cats have been in our care for nearly three years. Some are in our offices at Wacol and others are in private foster care. They desperately need to be allowed to go to new homes. Go knows how much longer this will drag on but our sincere thanks go to Walter Sofronoff QC, the Solicitor General, who is prosecuting for us pro bono and also to Caite Brewer of Counsel who is assisting. Without their help and other barristers and solicitors from BLEATS, justice for animals would be almost non- existent.

Anyway it’s getting late and it’s still hot so I may be forced to go in search of a beer. See you next week.

Michael Beatty
@bt1949