August 1, 2013Comments are closed.RSPCA
A form letter is going out to people who have questioned the ‘treatment’ the RSPCA offered Thomas – namely, that they killed him, rather than give him treatment.
Now dear reader, you know I’m rarely speechless. But the arrogance and umbrage being displayed by the organisation towards the very pet lovers, the community who support them, honestly takes my breath away.
The letter is in full below (highlighting mine):
Thomas arrived at RSPCA’s Sydney Shelter after being transported from one of our Volunteer Branches in Northern NSW. At that time, he was being monitored for a congenital eye condition as well as possible anxiety issues. During his time at the Shelter, Thomas sustained a broken leg. Even still, we wanted to give him the best chance possible of a healthy, happy life, and the decision was made to put him into foster care.
Notes of his physical and behavioural issues were provided to the foster carers when Thomas was placed with them. In hindsight, the RSPCA recognises that Thomas’ conditions may have called for a more experienced foster carer: one who may have been better able to respond to Thomas’ specific needs.
During the five weeks that Thomas was in foster care, the RSPCA requested numerous times that documentation be provided to ascertain Thomas’ behavioural progress. Regrettably, it wasn’t until Thomas came in for x-rays that the foster carers provided details about his deteriorating condition.
It was only at this late stage that the RSPCA was made aware of Thomas’ severe separation anxiety; complaints from a neighbour were noted about Thomas’ constant crying, howling and “screaming” during times when he was left alone. While in the RSPCA’s care, veterinary behaviourists noted Thomas’ extreme state of anxiety and distress.
With Thomas’ welfare in mind, specialists deemed it cruel to keep him in such a state and recommended that he be humanely euthanased. The RSPCA contacted Thomas’ foster carers to make them aware of this sad – but necessary – decision.
Despite the foster carer’s request to adopt Thomas, this would not address Thomas’ deteriorating state, and the decision to euthanase him was upheld.
While this outcome is upsetting, the RSPCA stands by its decision not to prolong Thomas’ suffering. We appreciate the widespread concern surrounding Thomas’ situation. However, we ask people to consider how his quality of life had deteriorated to such a degree that this decision was reached.
We will continue to rely on the help and assistance of our respected and much-needed foster care network. However, it’s situations like these that highlight the need for regular and detailed communications between our foster carers and Shelter/Vet staff to ensure animals’ health and welfare are monitored and evaluated closely.
If you would like to speak to someone about this case, please send me your phone number and our Executive Manager of Animal Care, Brendon Neilly will give you a call to discuss in more detail and answer any questions you may have.
With thanks and kind regards,
Rebecca Vella – Business Relations Partner
Killing this dog wasn’t the fault of his foster carer. This reason he was killed wasn’t that he lived in a loving foster home, as a cared for family pet for more than a month. It wasn’t because his carer didn’t submit some paperwork, nor was it because they weren’t responding to his needs. Thomas was killed for one reason, and one reason only – because the management of the RSPCA NSW directed him to be killed, rather than work to find a way to save him. And they did so even as his foster family – who had invested so much in Thomas’ care – begged to be allowed to save his life.
To suggest that a pet lover – this volunteer foster family – is in anyway responsible for the lack of treatment and care offered to Thomas by the RSPCA NSW is offensive. It is abhorrent. And it is cruel.
But it is not unique.
Each day we’re told that the reason the RSPCA NSW kills pets is because of us. That even though we grace them with overwhelming support – volunteering our time, walking in their Million Paws Walk, baking on their Cupcake Day, donating when they ask us to, bequesting when we die – and allocating our council’s animal management budgets to them – even though we gift the RSPCA NSW branch $30 million dollars each and every year to be the ones who step in and shelter the pets of the state who need protection – they refuse to accept any responsibility for the killing they choose to do.
If the cat or dog is healthy, treatable, adoptable – or untreatably sick – it is always our fault they kill. They lobby for laws to be able to kill quicker. They work to expand the number of animals they’re able to kill. They hide much of the killing they do from us. They refuse to implement the programs that would make killing unnecessary. And even as they ask us to give generously, they kill the ones they’re using to promote their cause.
This relationship is totally one sided – we give, we get the blame and we are refused any accountability in return. This relationship is toxic and it’s killing pets.
Thomas’ body will have been cremated. His temperament evaluation will be filed away, never to be seen, questioned, or appraised. And just like thousands of other pets every year, he will be counted simply as a single digit somewhere down the back pages of an end of year report. His foster family’s love for him counts for nothing. His individual right to be loved counts for nothing. His right to be respected, worthy of the very best care counts for nothing. Thomas’ life counted for nothing.
This simply cannot continue to be our reality. We are a nation of animal lovers, and we, and the pets we love deserve better. We now have a solution to shelter killing which is not difficult, expensive or beyond practical means to achieve. The only thing that is standing in the way of its widespread adoption, is the deeply dysfunctional animal sheltering system which still clings to the now completely disproven notion, that the killing they are choosing to do is acceptable, necessary and humane.
It’s time to stand up and say enough. We will accept no more Thomas’es. We will accept nothing less than No Kill and a compassionate animal management system which protects our pets. The killing must end.