If you’re planning to walk in the 2013 Million Paws Walk, you’re probably bringing your dog. In fact, it’s likely the whole reason you’re walking at all is that you love your pet dogs and/or cats and want to see other pets just like them who end up homeless, get a second chance at a happy life.
But if you’re walking in the Million Paws Walk, what are you walking to support really?
If you’re in WA you’re walking to support an organisation who regularly has only a handful of pets available for adoption, yet refuses to take back ‘returns’ of pets adopted from them – even when those pets are at risk of death. The organisation kills 1/3rd of its unclaimed dogs and cats, despite having just 1,600 pets to place last year*.
If you’re in NSW you’re walking to support an organisation who refuses to work with rescue choosing instead to kill pets, and who takes credit for placing pets in homes, whom it actually killed. An organisation who kills pets for treatable illnesses even as rescue groups beg to be allowed to take the pet for treatment and who artificially drives up intake rates by taking on multiple council tenders and more animals than they can reasonably home. The same organisation who supports ‘catch and kill’ programs which see high numbers of cats die in pounds. The organisation kills nearly half of unclaimed dogs and 60% of unclaimed cats.
If you’re in QLD you’re walking to support an organisation who killed a mother dog whose pups had already been rehomed along with six others who went from ‘adoptable’ to ‘not adoptable’ whilst in their care, and who uses their position as an animal welfare body to heavy in on other shelter’s animal management contracts. The organisation kills nearly half of its unclaimed dogs and cats.
If you’re in SA you’re walking to support an organisation who supports the seizing and killing of pets from other shelters for old-age-related, health complaints. And who themselves kill pets for treatable and preventable conditions. The organisation kills 40% of its unclaimed dogs and more than half of its unclaimed cats.
If you’re in TAS you’re walking to support an organisation who allowed sick and dying pets to suffer without treatment, with their own rangers refusing to bring animals into their care, and who celebrated new laws which allowed shooters to be able to kill free-roaming cats. The organisation kills 1/3rd of its unclaimed dogs and 40% of its unclaimed cats.
If you’re in VIC you’re walking to support an organisation who is complicit in Victoria’s dog-killing, breed specific laws, actively assisting councils in killing people’s healthy, friendly pets. You’re walking to support an organisation who kills 1/3rd of its unclaimed dogs and nearly half of its unclaimed cats.
Whatever state you’re in, you’re walking to support an organisation whose policy mandates all free-roaming cats are collected off the street (trap and remove & confinement), despite the fact most pounds in Australia killing 80-100% of cat intakes, practically guaranteeing the death of every one. The same policy which disallows the outreach desexing programs for unowned cats proven to bring the kill rates of pounds down, and cementing a high-kill rate for cats for the foreseeable future.
Whatever state you’re in, you’re walking to support an organisation who nationally supports a ‘humane’ puppy farming strategy, which includes joining forces with the representative group for pet shops – the Pet Industry Association of Australia – and recently disgraced, puppy farmer representative group – the Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB) to allow pet shops unfettered access to be able to sell bulk-farmed puppies directly to the public.
Whatever state you’re in, you’re walking to support an organisation who largely runs down the work of No Kill advocates, local community rescue groups and foster care networks and the pets whom they save, blocks access to death row pets by those same groups and supports legislation which maintains the status quo of high kill rates. The same organisation who not only continues to support pounds who kill lost family pets with a firearm, or with crudely built gassing machines, and whom has on occasion given those same pounds an award for exceptional performance.
The programs of the No Kill equation have seen nearly 100 communities (made up of more than 300 pounds and shelters) a reality in the US. Our pets here in Australia deserve the same compassion.
If you want to see the elimination of shelter killing, continuing to support and resource an organisation who defends that killing is simply putting resources into the wrong hands. If you’re walking in the Million Paws Walk, then you’re sending the strong message that, no matter how much unnecessary killing they do, you will support them. This ‘whatever the outcomes’ support is hindering genuine change for pets, as there is no pressure to evolve – no demand for resources to be put into rehabilitation and care.
This year is the year to stand up for pets.
(Worried you will be harming animals by restricting resources? Don’t be. RSPCA’s generally have several to tens of million dollars in reserve – many times more than is needed to operate for a year – check their annual reports. And small community groups will do much good with your redirected contributions)
Proven No Kill programs have been in existence since the 1980’s – if the RSPCA were going to make the change under their own steam, they would have by now. Only by pet lovers taking a stand and demanding all of the 11 programs of the No Kill Equation are comprehensively implemented, and that killing is no longer used as a convenient way to manage pets, will we see the change our pets deserve.
Get active. Don’t Walk.
There is one state RSPCA who has largely rejected killing as a tool to manage their pet populations. If you’re in the ACT, you’re walking to support an organisation who boasts a save rate of 94% for dogs, and 66% for cats. Unfortunately, the major stumbling block to getting cat euthanasia down, is the support of the organisation for ‘trap and remove’ programs for healthy, untame cats.