Tag Archives: welfare

Saving Wildlife Animals and Rehoming More Pets

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Our Wildlife Hospital has been really feeling the pressure. The number of native animals, birds and reptiles arriving in the last two months has doubled compared to last year. (September 2012-just over 600 compared to September well over 1200 and October 2012 just over 700 compared to October 2013 over 1500.)  It’s a worrying trend. The main reasons appear to be dog and cat attacks, fishing equipment injuries (swallowing hooks and getting entangled in discarded line), hit by cars and habitat destruction. This time of year is always more challenging because it’s when the newly born and starting to move around and find their feet and in the case of birds of course, their wings.

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The staff and volunteers at the hospital do an amazing job but sadly sometimes it can be very disheartening. If only recreational and professional fisherman would clean up their used hooks and pieces of line literally thousands of birds would be saved every year. The same goes for the family pets. Keep them inside at night-don’t let them roam.

Our Inspectorate too has been flat out. Inspector Melissa received a complaint about a dog that was very ill and suffering from a suspected tick. However when Melissa arrived at the property within 45 minutes of receiving the complaint, she found the dog at the front of the property, dead.  The dog’s owner, who had been out doing the grocery shopping, confirmed that the dog had been sick for a couple of days and that treatment had not been provided because he could not afford it and he did not believe in euthanasia. The defendant pleaded guilty in Beaudesert Magistrates Court to failure to provide veterinary treatment and made submissions to the court that he was 53 years of age and that he was the carer for his disabled wife and intellectually disabled daughter. The Magistrate took into account his early guilty plea, his cooperation, his remorse, and his financial and personal circumstances and fined him $2500. He then advised the court that he had no more animals.

Unfortunately, a week after the previous matter was heard in court, Inspector Melissa received a further complaint in relation to his property, relating to 3 cats being kept in a bathroom. When Melissa arrived with fellow Inspectors Penny and Jason they found 71 Guinea Pigs, numerous fish, budgies, pigeons, cockatiels, and a duck, as well as 5 cats, all living in terrible conditions. Many of the animals were suffering from untreated ailments. All the animals were seized but the owner subsequently signed ownership of all of the animals over to the RSPCA. This was a good result for the animals concerned as they did not have to await the outcome of court proceedings. A decision was made not to proceed with a prosecution in this matter, however we did make a separate application to the court for a 5 year prohibition order and disposal order and these orders were granted by the court.

Once again a huge thankyou to the team from Bleats, (in this case Marcin Lazinski), for proving pro bono assistance.

There was another sad but interesting case last week regarding the owner of over fifty birds.

Inspector Clare recently prosecuted a man after he was reported setting approximately 50 captive-bred Zebra and Society finches free from his aviary, only to see them all immediately killed by wild birds. He believed he was making a well-meaning decision, even though he knew there would be a percentage of loss, in particular the babies of the adult finches. If he didn’t want them any more why didn’t he try to rehome them? They were bred in captivity and had no chance of surviving in the wild.   The Magistrate said a fine of $5000 were not unreasonable. However due to the defendant’s financial and personal circumstances, he fined the defendant $1500 and prohibited him from owning any birds for 3 years. Hopefully he will never again be tempted to have birds. Once again thanks must go to Bleats, in this case Anthony Anderson, for representing us. I once again think back to when Tracy Lynne Geysen started Bleats to help us prosecute animal cruelty and neglect. All of the Barristers and Solicitors who joined have been wonderful and very generous with their expertise and their time.

Roxy

It’s time to draw your attention to some of our long term residents again. Roxy is a beautiful 2 year old brindle American Staffordshire Terrier. She has a gentle nature and used to be an indoors and outdoors dog. Unfortunately her owner’s landlord didn’t appreciate this and her owner couldn’t find pet friendly accommodation. We get so much of this! It’s really very frustrating because we have enough problems looking after the animals that aren’t wanted, let alone the ones that are loved but their owners can’t find accommodation! Roxy has been with us for 174 days and we’d love to find her a home.

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Layla is a two and a half year old domestic short hair (or Doshie as we used to call them) and has been looking for a permanent home for 263 days! Unfortunately she has cat flu which of course isn’t contagious to humans but it does mean she can’t mix with other cats. Her owner was forced to surrender her because her partner was allergic to cats. Very sad.

Bruce

Finally, (but don’t forget we have scores more animals looking for homes), we have Bruce who is a softie! He’s a four year old Mastiff and has been with us for a record 519 days! He’s been in foster care for the last year and his carer says he’s a sweet dog who sleeps on a mat in the living room when the carers are in and outside in a special crate when they go to bed. He stays in the yard quite happily when they’re at work.

Thanks to you! We did it. At the beginning of the month we set a rehoming target of 1300. Our Care Centres were chock a block and with the Christmas holidays looking things weren’t looking good. Well from November 1st through to November 30th we rehomed 1402 cats, dogs, kittens and puppies. For the same period last year we adopted 1032. Yeah! So please if you’re looking for a pet make the RSPCA your first port of call. All animals can be viewed online at www.adoptapet.com.au

Michael Beatty
@BT1949

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