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RSPCA ACT

annual review 12/13


Contents

WE GIVE

them time

President’s Report CEO’s Report Our Strategy Community Events Felines Canines Our Staff & Volunteers Other Animals Commercial Services Wildlife Inspectorate Success Stories Veterinary Work Thank You Engaging Our Community Our Supporters Statistics

4 7 9 10 13 14 16 19 22 25 26 28 31 32 33 34 36


Design, layout and production: Leisa Quinn. Contributors: Sue Gage, Michael Linke, Judy Gleeson, Simon Yates. Edited by: Mardi Linke, Robert McArthur, Anne Messenger. Reviewed by: Leisa Quinn, Judy Gleeson, Debbie Hartley. Photographs taken by: Leisa Quinn, Maarit Maher, Michael Linke. Statistics: Jane Gregor. Proudly printed by: Active Mail Please note: full audited financials available upon request.


President’s Report This is my final report as President of RSPCA ACT. After nine years in this privileged and important position, I announced at the February Council Meeting that I would not be nominating again as President at this year’s AGM and that I had also made the decision not to remain on the Council. Treating all animals with empathy and kindness has always been one of my driving passions and in 1970 I became a Life Member of RSPCA ACT. Since then I have worked as an RSPCA volunteer in different areas, particularly enjoying my few years as a dedicated dog walker, and have been a fairly prolific letter writer to politicians about various animal welfare issues. Over the last 16 years I have sat on the Council in the positions of Ordinary Member, Secretary, Vice President and President. My nine years as President have been both challenging and rewarding. I became President at our 2004 AGM, which was the year following the terrible bushfires which burnt out many areas in and around Canberra, including much of our Shelter in Weston. On becoming President of RSPCA ACT, I became a Director of the RSPCA Australia Board. This extended my responsibilities to include national issues as well as local ACT issues. On reviewing RSPCA ACT’s achievements over the last nine years, I became aware of just how far our organisation had come in that time. I have outlined some of those of achievements below. 2004 – 2005: This was a year of positive change, the Pet Adoption Centre (PAC) was opened in a new purpose-built reception building, it replaced the previous one which had been burnt down in

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the January 2003 bushfires. The Council provided a course in Customer Care training for all our staff members. The Council also created a new management position of Chief Executive Officer and appointed Michael Linke as CEO. Michael took over the management of RSPCA ACT and this allowed the Council to focus more carefully on its proper role of governance, policy and strategic issues. After discussion, and in cooperation with RSPCA NSW, our ACT Shelter assumed responsibility for the RSPCA’s animal welfare shelter in Queanbeyan. 2005 – 2006: The RSPCA Veterinarian Clinic grew and expanded its services. An assistant vet and a second vet nurse were appointed to help the clinic’s increasing demands and to provide weekend veterinary services for our Shelter animals. The vet clinic commenced a discounted desexing program for cats belonging to ACT Health Care card holders with the aim of reducing the ever growing numbers of unwanted kittens and cats in the Canberra region. It also introduced cooperative work with the ACT Government’s Domestic Animal Services (DAS) and began desexing dogs sold by the DAS dog pound, again with the aim of reducing increasing numbers of unwanted puppies and dogs. 2006 – 2007: During this year over 7,000 animals, including wildlife, arrived and received care at our Shelter. After reading studies on the positive effects of appropriate music to relieve stress in animals confined in small spaces, an innovation was introduced. Gentle music was played on loudspeakers throughout the kennels and cattery and the calming effect it had on our dogs in


“The humane treatment of all

animals has been a very important issue throughout my life, which was the reason I became a life member of RSPCA in 1970. “

particular was immediately apparent. In addition, animal behaviourists were employed to assess the temperaments of our Shelter dogs and cats. Puppy and dog training classes commenced and grew in popularity. New equipment was installed in the refurbished vet clinic and security around the clinic was also improved. 2007 – 2008: As an RSPCA Australia Board Director, I became more involved in one of our prominent national issues, the live animal export trade. The export of live sheep, cattle and goats for slaughter continues to cause serious animal welfare problems to this day. The RSPCA maintains that livestock animals should be slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production and we advocate the further development of Australia’s processed chilled and frozen meat export trade. The Council continued to review other important national RSPCA policies. The number of our volunteer workers increased substantially and support from the Canberra community and ACT politicians also grew stronger. Steady progress was made as we continued to urge the Legislative Assembly to ban battery cages for hens and to ban the sale of backyard fireworks in the ACT. 2008 – 2009: Over 8,500 animals, including wildlife, were received and given care at our Shelter. There was an official launch in Canberra of the RSPCA’s local and national ‘Choose Wisely’ campaign. This ongoing campaign to serve and sell only humanely

produced eggs was successful in freeing many hundreds of thousands layer hens from battery cages as consumer demand continued to convince restaurants, hotels and retail outlets to serve or sell only cage-free eggs. 2009 – 2010: After 20 years of lobbying by RSPCA ACT, the Legislative Assembly finally banned the retail sale of fireworks in the ACT and our Shelter experienced its first quiet Queen’s Birthday long weekend. This ongoing ban continues to save many dogs and other animals from trauma, injury and death resulting from explosions of backyard fireworks. I wrote my first letter regarding this issue to all our ACT MLAs many years ago and was very pleased when the sale of these fireworks was eventually banned. 2010 – 2011: This RSPCA year was dominated by the deep concern demonstrated across Australia following the ABC Four Corners program showing footage and haunting images exposing the inherent cruelty involved in the live animal export trade. RSPCA ACT members and supporters became very active by attending protest meetings and demonstrations and contacting politicians to pressure them to end the trade. I wrote letters to all Australian Federal politicians as well as several Letters to Editors which were printed in various Canberra and other states’ newspapers. At another level, our new RSPCA ACT Constitution was finally completed and approved by RSPCA ACT members at our 2011 AGM. This was cause for celebration because the Council and CEO had been working on its preparation for seven and a half years. Due to legal complications with the old Constitution, advice and assistance from our solicitors was required. The old Constitution had been compromised and deeply embedded in the past, while the new Constitution was a strong and responsible document.

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2011- 2012: This was a rewarding year for our Council. It began with two Council Workshops where we reviewed our Governance Policy Manual. Following this, all our new governance activities operated within a framework of good governance principals approved by the Council. The Council also set up two new committees, the Governance & Strategic Planning Committee and the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee. Both committees worked with management to produce a business plan for the 2012/13 year which sat within a three-year strategic framework.

Following my announcement to the Council in February that I would not be nominating again for the position of President, I started working closely with our Treasurer, Louise Douglas. Louise will be our new President in the coming year and I know that the Council will be in very good and experienced hands under her stewardship. An achievement which I am particularly proud of is the development of an extraordinarily good and skilled Council. Each Council Member will have their own valuable contribution to make towards RSPCA ACT over the next few challenging years.

Discussions continued between RSPCA ACT and the ACT Government about our relocation from Weston to another, yet to be determined, site. We were relieved when the ACT Government announced that battery cage egg-production in the ACT would be phased out and Parkwood Farms would be required to convert from battery cage to barn egg production. The ACT then became the second Australian state or territory to allow the production of only cage-free eggs within its borders. Looking back, I remembered that it had been almost 20 years since I wrote my first letter to ACT MLAs calling for a ban on battery cages for hens in the ACT.

Each year we face and meet the challenges of maintaining a high standard of care for each of our Shelter animals. We endeavour to meet these challenges because all the animals who, through no fault of their own, arrive at our Shelter become our responsibility and deserve the highest standard of care we are capable of giving them. In my opinion, we also need to continue to recognise the importance of our inspectorate which is at the core of the RSPCA’s proud origins as an animal welfare organisation.

2012 – 2013: Again we commenced the year by holding a Council Workshop and reviewing our governance policies. Later in the year the Council also established a New Site Committee for ongoing negotiation with the ACT Government regarding our Shelter’s relocation to a proposed new site. After many years of discussion, and with three cheers from us, the ACT Government officially announced in August a new site for RSPCA ACT. Our Shelter, now almost 60 years old, would be relocated to Symonston and include the construction of a large purpose-built animal welfare facility.

In conclusion, I acknowledge everyone I have worked with over the last nine years. Past and present Council Members, staff, managers and volunteers as well as our members, supporters and donors have all contributed towards the success of our RSPCA and its vital role within the ACT. On behalf of all creatures great and small, I thank you.

Sue Gage President

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WE GIVE THEM

shelter


CEO’s Report Another year passes and RSPCA ACT continues to punch above our weight. Looking over the achievements we have made in the last eight years, highlighted by Sue as she plans to step down from her role as President, and I can only marvel at what we have achieved. We have quite literally changed the lives of thousands of animals for the better. I’d like to thank Sue for her generosity of time and spirit during my time as CEO working with her. I’d also like to acknowledge her significant contribution to the animal welfare movement. Looking back at the last 12 months, we started the year with the wonderful news that battery hen farming would cease in the ACT. I’d like to acknowledge the tenacity and commitment of Minister Shane Rattenbury for seeing this difficult process through until its end. After this wonderful news, we moved into our Cupcake Day celebrations, raising well over $100,000 in what I call the sweetest event of them all. More than 50,000 cupcakes were consumed across the ACT, with the Department of Agriculture raising the most money nationally for animals in need in the ACT. We rely on the generous support of our donors, which I’d like to acknowledge and thank for a lot of our income. Without this support we simply could not function, but we need to augment this generosity to deliver the highest possible welfare outcomes. As CEO I looked to our commercial opportunities to generate this much needed extra income. To this end I created Tango’s Place. Tango’s is our cat boarding facility and it has created a new standard in cat boarding. Not to mention the more

than $110,000 a year it will now raise for animal welfare. I also put plans in place to expand our veterinary clinic service offerings and also laid plans for an expanded dog training school. Each activity adding important income and cash flow. As 2013 dawned our successful kitten foster program saw us rehome more healthy kittens, as a percentage, than ever before. The really pleasing factor with our feline program is the reduction in overall intake, which is allowing us to provide

“We rely on the generous support of our donors, which I’d like to acknowledge and thank, for a lot of our income. Without this support we simply could not function.” high quality care to all cats and achieve some outstanding rehoming rates. Our dog rehoming program remains strong and we continue to achieve excellent rehoming and reclaim rates. Our closer positive working relationship with Domestic Animal Services (DAS) and local rescue groups saw more dogs going to homes and fewer transfers from our facility to the DAS facility. We really do have an exellent care model in the ACT. Our wildlife team continued to perform at exceptional levels with some pleasing outcomes for a range of species. Sadly, we continue to see too many injured native animals presenting. After the busy summer period, shelter life slows a little and our marketing team gears up for our major events.

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Million Paws Walk is our stand out event: 12,000 people and 4,500 dogs attended again this year on a perfect autumn day. In addition to this major event, the team presented our successful and entertaining trivia night, Santa Paws photos, and a variety of thank you events for our foster carers, donors and business partners.

WE HELP THEM

to heal

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We closed out the year with great news regarding our new site development. After a number of years negotiating with the ACT government, I am very proud and pleased to be able to say that the ACT government has agreed to invest $15m into the development of a new animal shelter. I have worked long and hard on this agreement which will see the landscape of animal welfare, care and protection services change for the better in Canberra. Overall it has been a great year on all fronts. Our animal welfare results again show tremendous outcomes and success stories. Our financial results showed a small surplus and we kept our share portfolio intact. All of the indicators of our success point in the right direction as we prepare for the challenges that we face.

Thank you to the army of people that make RSPCA ACT run so smoothly: the executive management team, the administrative staff, the animal care and welfare staff, the volunteers all ensure the shelter runs smoothly, efficiently and effectively. Our donors, supporters, business partners and government representatives all aid us in meeting our vision and mission and ensuring animal welfare in Canberra continues to improve. The public at large who attend our events, collect lost dogs, pick up injured animals, argue for change to animal welfare laws, share our Facebook posts and re-tweet our funny Twitter photos, thank you. Our movement is strong because it binds us all. Our movement is strong because it is noble. Our movement is strong because RSPCA stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Michael Linke Chief Executive Officer


Our Strategy As with any business entity, strategic and business planning plays an important role at RSPCA ACT. Our responsibility is to manage a $4m budget and deliver animal welfare, care and protection services to almost 8,000 animals annually, so we take our role very seriously. We have in place a comprehensive governance model which sees RSPCA ACT governed by a body of nine elected councillors. The governing council meets every four to five weeks and reviews financial and business performance, animal welfare activities and legislative requirements. To facilitate these meetings and to measure performance, RSPCA ACT has in place an overarching strategic plan. This plan outlines our strategic imperatives to enable the delivery of quality services that maximise the positive outcomes for animals. In delivering these strategic imperatives we have a number of core objectives. The success of our core objectives is dependent on our operational priorities, which are measured and reported on to our governing council by way of success indicators. Our key success indicators measure our success in accordance with our five key strategic imperatives: 1 – Advocating for all animals by: • educating • influencing • promoting. 2 – Conducting a safe work environment that encompasses integrity, respect and a cohesive team by: • respecting • working together • acting with integrity.

3 – Being the leading authority on animal welfare in our region by: • being respected among our peers • supporting the animal welfare movement • sharing our successes. 4 – Operating a world class animal care, welfare and protection environment by: • enriching the lives of animals • delivering life-saving outcomes for animals • protecting animals. 5 – Maintaining a sustainable, financial and business framework by: • careful, sensible and judicious financial planning • implementing a robust governance model • using our combined intelligence to solve problems. We then review and measure our performance using a set of metrics tied back to our strategic imperatives. By doing this we remain focused on core actions that provide the best possible outcomes for animals within our care. We ensure that our staff and volunteers have access to the tools and resources they need in order to discharge their day to day responsibilities. Our animal welfare strategies, which are articulated throughout this report, are augmented by robust people, financial and business planning strategies. These include comprehensive induction and training programs for staff and volunteers, a weekly review of our financial position, and careful planning including risk analysis of our activities. Overall RSPCA is well managed and well governed and the assets are in safe hands, which means that each and every animal is well protected and provided with the highest possible standard of care.

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Community Events Million Paws Walk In its eighth year at Stage 88, this year’s Canberra Million Paws Walk saw the biggest crowd to attend the event in its history, with more than 12,000 people and almost 4,500 dogs, a cat and a pig! Participants enjoyed a stunning autumn day with more than 70 stalls to browse, stage entertainment, live music, activities and competitions throughout the day, including the favourite RSPCA ACT agility course. This year’s theme was ‘Birthday Celebration’, in line with Canberra’s Centenary Birthday. Many participants and their pets joined in the fun and came dressed in themed costumes. We also saw people walking without a dog this year – whether they were walking on behalf of an animal at home, or simply walking to support the valuable work of RSPCA ACT, it was fantastic to see so many people in the one area enjoying the joys of pet ownership. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher cut the ribbon to launch the walk around Lake Burley Griffin.

A key message of Cupcake Day is to use free range eggs when baking fundraising cupcakes. This is in support of RSPCA’s Choose Wisely campaign which aims to get battery hens out of cages. We urge everyone to purchase RSPCA approved eggs, especially when making delicious cupcakes! National Convention Centre Once again we invited supporters to VIP Concert Experiences, with a private cocktails and hors d’oeuvres party beforehand, thanks to the support of the National Convention Centre. Shows included Bill Bailey and Adam Hills “Happyism”.

Million Paws Walk 2013 ran seamlessly thanks to the tremendous support of staff and RSPCA ACT’s valued volunteers.

Bill Bailey’s show – “Qualmpeddler” – is a combination of Bailey’s trademark features: musical mash-ups, twisted logic, some political ranting, dazzling animation and visuals. It also included some exploration of language which was inspired by his trip to China where Bill Bailey’s experiences were stranger than surreal. The UK’s Daily Star said, “Bill Bailey is the most talented comic on the scene.” Bill Bailey ended his stay in Canberra with a tour of the RSPCA ACT shelter at Weston.

Cupcake Day for the RSPCA

Doggy Olympics

This is the biggest bake-off in the Southern Hemisphere and involves cupcake cooks around

This event was held in August 2013 at the shelter in Weston. We set up a course with 10 ‘sports’ for

We are very proud and honoured to be able to announce that this year saw a local fundraising team raise the most money of any team in the country. Team Jim Jam, raising funds for RSPCA ACT in memory of Jamie-Leigh Lynch, raised in excess of $16,800 – a wonderful achievement.

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Australia hosting cupcake parties to raise funds for RSPCA. This huge community fundraising event almost clears the shelves of local supermarkets of self raising flour, patty cake papers and icing sugar. Many thousands of schools, childcare centres, community groups and workplaces came out in force to support animal welfare by baking, decorating, buying and eating cupcakes and this year raised over $1.1 million nationally.


the dogs including hurdles, shot put, and synchronised swimming. Every competitor selected a country to represent – selections were mostly based on the country of their breed’s origin. Volunteers registered competitors, and assisted with scoring and adjudicating. Winners received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in front of a boisterous crowd of animal loving members of the public. Trivia Our annual trivia night in April took it’s theme from Canberra’s Centenary celebrations: Birthdays and Celebrations, with a prize awarded for the best dressed table. Once again our Quiz Master was the incomparable Senator Gary Humphries. Thanks again for your support Gary. As usual, tickets sold out quickly and the Convention Centre’s largest function room was filled to the brim with eager and excited trivia buffs. Teams included RSPCA ACT staff, corporate supporters and local veterinarians. Teams included: “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Fur-minators”, “Funkey Monkeys”, and “Wicked Woofers”.

5239 MILLION PAWS WALK

REGISTERED

walkers

Thank you to all the donors, volunteers and participants for making this a memorable and successful evening. Santa Paws Last Christmas, animal lovers from near and far came to Santa’s den in the shelter for photos of their pets to be taken on Santa’s lap. It’s a jolly time at RSPCA though; wrangling all those species into suitable poses is a challenge for the volunteers and photographer. Thank you to Petroglyph Photography for donating days and days of time to undertake this annual project which raises more than $5,000 for RSPCA ACT.

485

CUPCAKE

cooks

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78% CATS & KITTENS

homed

521 KITTENS

fostered

10,000

ENCLOSURES

cleaned

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Felines This has been a year of consolidating our efforts. Our main focus has been ensuring cats adopted from the shelter are well-matched to their new home and family. Ensuring cats are matched to the right home helps to avoid unwanted or abandoned pets in the ACT. RSPCA ACT campaigned strongly to increase public awareness of the need to desex and contain cats. We were delighted to see a corresponding reduction in the number of unwanted cats in our nation’s capital. Desexing is compulsory by the age of three months for all kittens in the ACT. The reason for these laws is that cats as young as four months old can fall pregnant. RSPCA ACT aims to reduce the number of unwanted pets by desexing all cats that come through the shelter. All kittens that arrive in the shelter have the best chance of survival thanks to our strong kitten foster carer network. Last winter a box of four hungry and cold kittens was found crying at the front door of a bakery. Bakery staff brought them straight to us and after feeding, warming and vet checking these sweet kittens we called our foster carer network to find them a nurturing temporary home.

They went to their foster home that afternoon to be washed, cuddled, kept warm and fed every three hours. Their carer continued to weigh them and kept records on the progress of each little kitten. They grew from a tiny 230 gram average to 1 kg at which time they were brought in to the shelter to be desexed and made available for adoption. Every one of these adorable kittens found their forever homes and are now happy, healthy and loved by their new families! RSPCA ACT also cares for cats with specific dietary requirements such as obesity. With the help of Hill’s Prescription Diet products, their overall health dramatically improves. These specialised “vet only” products are available from our veterinary clinic, and Hill’s Science Diet products can be purchased from our Pet Adoption Centre.

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Canines This year we have applied more creative solutions to some problems faced in the shelter with increasing success. Our strategies have included intensive one on one work by volunteers and qualified canine behavioural trainers and the use of Facebook to market specific dogs. We tell their story and indicate the type of family they are best suited to. As so many people share these stories, this has been a highly successful approach. We also reviewed approaches to animals with non-life-threatening medical conditions. We openly explain the medical condition, the potential veterinary services each animal will require, and place the onus on the adopter to continue medical care. These ‘imperfect pets’ have settled in as ‘the perfect pet’ for many families. These creative solutions have led to major improvements in rehoming rates for dogs held at the shelter for long periods. In the past, some of these dogs would deteriorate to the point where we could not rehome them. We also work closely with Domestic Animal Services’ (DAS) Dog Pound in Mugga Lane. All puppies less than six months of age are housed at RSPCA ACT as DAS do not have the facility to care for them. During puppy season we have had as many as 39 puppies in the shelter at any one time.

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RSPCA ACT advocates an important message responsible dog ownership. Every day we come across situations where pet owners are not doing the right thing. One example is the number of strays brought in to us which have not been microchipped. Microchipping is compulsory in the ACT so we are constantly reminding pet owners of the requirements and of course the benefits when their pet goes missing. Microchipping also helps reduce the strain on our limited resources. When a stray is brought in to the shelter, we scan it and look up the pet’s owner on the many registries used in Australia. We can then make phone calls and attempt to re-unite the pet and owner. Often this proves very challenging as although microchipped, the information about the dog’s registered owner can be out of date. This may be due to the pet changing hands or the owners having changed their contact details. In the ACT penalties can apply for the keeping of a sexually entire dog without a permit from DAS. Regardless of this legal requirement, many dogs come to the shelter entire and are desexed by our veterinarians before they are adopted out. This year we desexed 487 dogs.


92% DOGS & PUPPIES

homed

1024

DOGS & PUPPIES

reunited

50,000 MEALS prepared

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Our Staff & Volunteers RSPCA ACT has a highly diverse workforce including animal care assistants across five areas (cats, dogs, wildlife, vet clinic, and Pet Adoption Centre), as well as staff in administration, finance, marketing, communications, fundraising, graphic design, maintenance, cleaning, veterinarians and veterinary nurses.

RSPCA ACT staff are a team dedicated to finding the best outcomes for all animals in the ACT. Whether it is rehoming animals in our care or helping companion animals stay with their owners. Some days are tough but it is worth the effort knowing we are making a difference to the lives of so many animals in the Canberra region.

We have a total of fifty full time staff. Almost all members of staff have a large menagerie at home, colloquially known as “fur kids”. For example, the business support team of seven has: 8 dogs, 16 cats, 2 rats, 1 rabbit, 2 horses and approximately 20 fish between them.

We know we couldn’t do this without the help of our many highly devoted volunteers.

When asked in job interviews why people want to work here people say: “I want to work with animals/I love animals/it’s my passion”

300+ volunteers

“I want to work somewhere where I know I can make a difference” “I respect RSPCA and the brand and would be proud to work here” “I have wanted to work here since I was young” “Looking for a new challenge” “It’s my idea of a dream job” “My values and beliefs are aligned with RSPCA”

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RSPCA ACT has more than 300 volunteers. These community spirited people who volunteer for RSPCA ACT enable us to care for many thousands of animals in our shelter every year. They clean, they walk, they cuddle. They sit and play with the animals. They clean hundreds of kitty litter trays, make hundreds of dog treats, do thousands of loads of washing. They turn up when it’s raining, snowing or swelteringly hot. Volunteers often say they get more than they give. They say that the animals give them so much love and joy and it is uplifting to be part of a team working to get the best outcomes for each animal. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. We thank them from the bottom of our dog bowls and kitty litter trays.


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Other Animals This year we saw many ferrets come into the shelter as strays. Ferrets are not only inquisitive and playful but also fabulous escape artists. We recommend that all ferrets be microchipped so that owners can be contacted if they escape and are brought to us or a local veterinarian. Often we see ferrets adopted by people who already love these cute and interesting creatures and are excited to be able to find a new pet to add to their household. Adult ferrets make great pets for first time pet owners as they are easy to handle and love attention but are also happy to be on their own for much of the day. One ferret that came in as a stray, Florence, arrived at the shelter heavily pregnant. She gave birth to seven baby ferrets on Good Friday. This was the first time we had seen a ferret give birth in our shelter so our team thoroughly researched how to socialise young ferrets. It was decided they were to be kept in a playpen - a very apt place for such delightfully playful creatures. Quite a few of our staff chose to have their breaks playing with baby ferrets, enjoying their playful nature until it was time for them to be adopted out. We often have guinea pigs, rabbits, mice and rats available for adoption. Families with younger children tend to adopt guinea pigs and rabbits as they make great small pets and help children to develop an understanding of the responsibility of pet ownership.

We often have rabbits brought in as strays. Like all animals brought to us, rabbits are checked by our veterinarians who far too frequently find signs of a very poor diet. Teeth are often the major concerns with pet rabbits who are indulged with inappropriate food. Their teeth grow far too long as a result. This is a major health concern as they cannot eat properly and will quickly become very ill. Combating this is easy. By ensuring your pet rabbit has the correct food which includes a healthy mixture of pellets, vegetables, hay and seeds your rabbit can live for 7 - 10 years.

73%

OTHER ANIMALS

homed

Some exotic breeds of rabbits have been rehomed this year. We saw Netherlands Dwarfs, Lop Eared and Mini Lop Eared, Rex and Seal Point and even a British Giant come through the shelter. Their behaviour and care needs are all very similar though the longer haired varieties require regular brushing to avoid matting. Having more than one pet rabbit is recommended as rabbits are sociable animals and require companionship. Suitable mixes include two females or mixes of neutered rabbits. To avoid having any unwanted/unintended litters of baby rabbits, avoid keeping entire male and entire females together. Before leaving the shelter, all RSPCA ACT rabbits are desexed vaccinated and microchipped.

4500+ WASHING LOADS

shelter wide

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8400+

FACEBOOK

page likes

4500+ WASHING LOADS

shelter wide

ENCLOSURES

clinic clients

2400+

5239 MILLION PAWS WALK

walkers

20

cooks

NEW VETERINARY

cleaned

followers

CUPCAKE

1200+

40,000+

TWITTER

485

900+ ANIMALS fostered


677 NATIVE ANIMALS

released

over 4%

REDUCTION

INCOMING

wildlife

73%

MEALS prepared

homed

78%

homed

homed

50,000

OTHER ANIMALS

CATS & KITTENS

92%

DOGS & PUPPIES

300+ volunteers

668

COMPLAINTS

investigated

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Commercial Services Pet Adoption Centre A day in the Pet Adoption Centre (PAC) begins with a visit by one of our animal care assistants to the drop-off enclosures. This is where the public can leave animals after hours. After looking and listening, saying a friendly ‘hello’ they cautiously open the door to Enclosure Four where a bump can be seen under a blanket. They lift the blanket to discover there is an animal hiding beneath. Today it’s a terrified cat. Every morning can be a surprise: this year our drop-off enclosures at the shelter have had roosters, magpies, dogs, cats, kittens and even a goat in them. Today there are also two barking dogs in Enclosure One, bouncing around, wanting to get out after a night locked up, having been abandoned by their owners. On the surrender form the owners explained that they are moving house and can’t keep them. They wrote that the dogs love children and they hope we can find them a new home. Within PAC is our retail store which is often very busy, especially on weekends. In fact we averaged almost 4,500 people per month coming through our front door. Clients from all over the region choose to buy from us and return the profits to help our shelter animals. As well as the full range of Hill’s Science Diet products we sell and provide specialist advice on bedding, harnesses, leads, collars, flea and worm treatments and grooming products. Our PAC staff receive many questions from members of our community about domestic

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animals. On an average day we answer hundreds of phone calls, handle many animal adoptions. And of course there is a never ending stream of people dropping in with animals they have found wandering the streets. Tango’s Place A new enterprise funded through a specific donation in memory of a gorgeous ginger cat, Tango. We provide five star cat boarding in large suites and even have two executive suites to truly pamper feline friends. Tango’s Place is a self-contained, air conditioned facility with feline pheromones gently wafting through the space, the sound of classical music playing as well as loving and nurturing attendants who tend to each cat’s every need. The guests also benefit from veterinarians and animal attendants on site seven days a week. Daily observations are made of each guest and our highly experienced team can be relied on to care for every guest with skill and love. Cats come to stay in Tango’s for a variety of reasons, the main being owners going away on holidays. We also have guests stay when renovations take place in their home. Special needs are catered for. Some of them are quite quirky! For example, we have a guest who is accustomed to using a standard toilet, so we have a toilet seat placed over the litter tray for him. It’s quite a sight. Another beautiful old feline lady has a routine of drinking from a glass of water with her Daddy every afternoon until he passed away.


So we serve her water in her very own whiskey glass. Life skills training - Dog Training Courses are held regularly for canines of all ages from eight week old puppies to adult dogs. Owners are taught many key skills to support responsible dog ownership such as how to walk their dog on a loose lead, control their dog when walking off lead and stop unsocial behaviours such as jumping up on people. Our clients come from all over the ACT and nearby NSW and courses book out very quickly as our training staff are very skilled. At times we have a waiting list. Though it’s too dark to run evening courses for much of the year, in summer we add evening classes to our schedule. We offer new dog owners who have adopted from our shelter a discount if they book within two weeks of adoption. The uptake of this special offer has steadily grown with some even booking in before taking their new pet home.

85,000+

VISITORS TO

the shelter

Christmas trees Canberrans once again headed to the shelter to buy their Christmas trees from RSPCA ACT during December. Our sales increased by 31% over the previous year, generating funds we put toward our animal welfare services. In 24 days we sold 898 Christmas trees - a “treemendous” effort by our PAC staff and many volunteers.

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over 4% REDUCTION

incoming

wildlife

677 ANIMALS

released

24


Wildlife It sounded like the beginning of a joke: An ACT Government Ranger appeared at the door in his khaki uniform and said “Sorry to interrupt. I’ve got a pelican, a wombat and an owl for you”. But no, it wasn’t a joke, he had walked in the door of our Wildlife Clinic building and really did have such a strange array of creatures for us to tend to. Members of the public and Parks, Conservation and Land (PCL) Rangers bring us the majority of the animals we care for in the Wildlife Clinic. They include parrots, goats, echidnas, wombats, possums, Crested Pigeons, raptors, owls, turtles and that’s just to name a few! This year we have seen high rates of incidence of diseases affecting our bird populations. We are trying to determine the contributing factors and patterns such as locations, migratory patterns, and weather patterns. When members of the public feed parrots, it brings the birds closer together and it may be that which causes diseases to spread faster. We suggest the public only feed birds by scattering bird seed, not using bird feeders which cause them to congregate very closely – sometimes an unnatural behaviour for wild birds. Cockatoos and galahs are prone to contract beak and feather disease which is highly contagious. This incurable disease over-stimulates beak and claw growth, with feather growth also effected. Eventually these unfortunate birds cannot fly or feed properly and perish as a result. In later stages, when weakened, they are easy to catch, and we encourage people to take them to a veterinarian or bring them in to the RSPCA wildlife clinic where they can be humanely euthanased and not left to suffer.

This year we had a very rare albino echidna brought in to be cared for by our veterinary and wildlife teams. Casper, as he was named during his stay with us, was successfully released at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. RSPCA ACT wishes to thank ACT Government Rangers, staff at TAMS as well as staff at Tidbinbilla for facilitating the successful release of this beautiful creature. Casper is but one of over 2,500 native animals we care for each year in the nation’s capital. Another native patient was Pete the platypus. He was found in distress near Cotter Dam construction work and brought in by rangers for assessment. Given a clean bill of health a few days later he was released in a safe area close by the Cotter Dam. In early winter, some interstate tourists found a large Rosenbergs’ Monitor in Namadgi National Park that was obviously unwell. They brought it in to the shelter where it was provided with some intensive veterinary care. After some time, the lizard was placed with a carer for the rest of the winter and will be released once the weather warms up. Earlier this year a new public relations specialist joined the team, also undertaking many tasks we would have an education officer fulfill. Gerald, a young galah, loves an outing and enjoys attention including posing for cameras at our media events. We are still unsure of his gender and may have to change her name to Geraldine soon.

25


Inspectorate The role of an RSPCA Inspector is extremely varied. Not only do they investigate allegations of animal cruelty, but they assist people with mental health issues and drug and alcohol addictions to care for their pets. They also assist the needy by passing on pet food donated to RSPCA ACT by the public.

668

COMPLAINTS

investigated

Inspectors respond to calls from hospitals and are often the first to discover a person has been living in squalor. Many Canberrans would not believe that within our mostly affluent community there are many people who fall between the cracks. At times it is not until the inspectors attend to check on pets that the condition of their home is brought to the attention of an authority or community organisation that can assist. The extent of the service our inspectors provide can vary from simply advising on appropriate animal husbandry and care, picking up faeces and cleaning floors, to convincing people to surrender their animals into our care for veterinary attention and eventual rehoming. Inspectors are required to have exceptional communication, negotiation and liaison skills as they deal with extremely volatile and aggressive people in trying circumstances. A good sense of humour is a help of course! One of the more memorable cases this year was as a result of a call received from just over the ACT border. A lady called in asking for assistance with her dog which she described as having ‘bad skin’. She went on to explain that she could not afford veterinary assistance.

26

The inspectors, after liaising with RSPCA NSW inspectors, visited the premises the following morning. When the owner brought the dog to the inspectors they couldn’t believe their eyes. She looked absolutely shocking. Cindy was completely covered with bleeding, weeping sores. It was hard to find anywhere you could pat her. She was so emaciated she could barely walk. She was close to death and would certainly not have survived for more than another day or two if left in these circumstances. The inspectors brought Cindy in to our veterinarians who assessed her and commenced treatment. She was gently examined from the top of her head to the tip of her tail. She was spoken to calmly and lovingly. She was gently encouraged to eat a little, eat slowly and without gulping. We arranged for Aussie Pooch Mobile to give Cindy a very gentle wash. They did so with tears in their eyes. She has slowly regained weight. Her skin has healed, her hair has regrown. She now enjoys her daily walks with our volunteer dog walkers and the work she has done with our behavioural trainers. Many of the staff at the shelter say a daily “hello Cindy” as she walks by with one of our volunteer dog walkers. Cindy has a happy, beautiful nature and as we write this story she is looking for a home. She is only 12 months old and would make a wonderful addition to a lucky family.


Week one

Now

Week two

Week three

Week six 27


Success Stories Kuro the black cat was stuck in a tree for four days before being rescued. It was quite a gathering beneath the tree. RSPCA ACT inspectors were there. A team of firemen were there. All the neighbours were there. Everyone was peering up the tree at the cat. He peered down and meowed. He was hungry, cold and tired. He was a very long way up the tree. The firemen couldn’t reach him with their ladders and he climbed further away when they tried. They looked up at him. He looked down at them and meowed. After careful deliberation between firemen, inspectors and neighbours, it was decided that an arborist would be called to lop the branch. It seemed to be the only solution as the cat had been in the tree for many days with no sign of him coming down. Josh the arborist finally arrived, donned his tree climbing gear and climbed high into the tree. It worked. Kuro was recovered safe and well. After bringing this daring tree climbing cat to the shelter, we scanned him for a microchip.

28

We contacted his owner immediately and though delighted to learn that he was safe and well, for family reasons RSPCA was asked to rehome him. It turned out to be much easier than usual to rehome this lovely though somewhat too adventurous cat - the arborist’s partner Emily fell in love with this sweet kitty and took him home after RSPCA veterinarians gave him a thorough check up. Now that he is an indoor cat, Slinky Malinki (as he is now known) can go only so high as perching on the back of the lounge. His favourite sleeping spot is the bed and he wakes Emily up by staring at her face from oh, maybe 1cm away until she wakes. At 5 am every morning. Emily seems so happy with this playful, cuddly cat. If Slinky Malinki ever gets out and takes to a tree again, his new daddy will be on hand to get him down. A purrfect match.


WE HELP BRING

them together

29


1200+

NEW VETERINARY

clinic clients

30


Veterinary Work Our veterinary clinic not only cares for animals in the shelter but also offers services to the general public. This year has been a year of growth in our veterinary clinic. We undertook some building works in the veterinary clinic to manage the increased demand for our services. We have added staff: one veterinary nurse and two more veterinarians. We are now at capacity in our small building with four full-time veterinarians and one part-time working to a seven day roster. A full time practice manager has taken on responsibility for administration, financial management, rostering, project management and most importantly our income generation with the support of the marketing & fundraising team. This year also presented to us an increase in community support cases as well as public clients. The initiative to increase our public clients has been very successful and has been achieved almost solely through word of mouth. Although our services are offered at highly competitive rates, there are members of our community who struggle to afford veterinary treatment. Some are attended to as community service cases.

Additionally we now offer a payment plan to clients who would otherwise not be able to afford veterinary care for their animals. We attended the Canberra Homeless Connect Day in August and provided animal husbandry advice, gave away pet food, pet coats and bedding Our veterinarians also undertook some minor consultations, providing advice on worming, flea treatments and minor ailments. Many people brought their dogs along to the event and we were happy to babysit while they went inside to other stalls. We were very lucky to purchase a digital X-ray machine for a highly discounted rate when an engineer repairing our old machine advised us of a business in receivership which was selling stock at almost give-away prices. It is so much faster than our old machine and links to our computer system for much better record keeping for each animal. This year we welcomed more than 1,200 new clients to our veterinary clinic making this a reliable source of income we can apply to on-going animal welfare services.

31


Thank You We rely on the community to help us continue our vital work with animals in need. A big thank you to all who have supported and continue to support RSPCA ACT. Every single dollar counts. Although we would love to list all of you who have donated, we simply don’t have the space. The following people have donated significant amounts to our cause and we would like to thank them for their dedication to supporting animals in need: Miss Lyn Brown / Mr A Sinclair Mr William Kempees / Mr Donald Balfour Mrs Shirley Llorens / Ms Margaret McMillan Mr Peter Runge / Mrs Barbara Hamburger Mrs AJ Whyte / Ms Eva Beaton Don’t Panic Plumbing / Ms Sandra Dell Dr Lynne Jenkins / Ms Ruth Smith Dr Margaret Middleton / Mr & Mrs S&P Florczak Ms Victoria Leaver / Ms Morna Vellacott Ms Georgina Withers / Mr John Leonard Mr John Simpson / Mr Frank Breglec Ms Hilary Nicholson / Mr John Bellinger Mr Byron Sullivan / Ms Esther Macdonald Ms Sanora Dell / Mr Saul Schneider Ms Bianca Keena / Ms Carolyn Toms Mr Tom Halstead / Ms Roz Bruhn Ms Betty Grant / Ms Sarah Crichton Ms C Moore / Ms Wendy Whitham Ms Alison Neumaier / Ms Ruth Smith Mrs Colleen Granleese / Mr Graham O’Brien Ms Margaret Atkinson / Ms Pam Behncke Mr Daryl Blaxland / Mr Colin Hauff Ms Margaret Pfanner / Ms Elizabeth Synnot Ms Elizabeth Flynn / Mr Paul Hartigan Ms Judith Avery / Mr John Brain Mr Robert McHugh / Ms Margaret Jones Mr Ian Doherty / Mr & Mrs John & Tarlie Alcock Ms Judith Hurlstone / Ms Monique Butselaar

32

“We believe it is important to care for animals and birds that are injured or have fallen on hard times. The RSPCA does a fantastic job of this and has an excellent record in rehoming those that can’t return to their original family or live independently.” -Tarlie and John Alcock “Having found a very sick cat in our yard one morning and being unable to care for her because of our own pets, we took her to the RSPCA at Weston where she was taken in, cured and found a new home. Who else could we have turned to for help for this abandoned pet? We love all animals and will always help any animal in need.” - John & Titch Bellinger


Engaging Our Community Corporate volunteering This year has seen an increased number of approaches from government and business workplaces wanting to support RSPCA ACT through Corporate Volunteering. We have formed new relationships and expanded existing ones as organisations have engaged with RSPCA as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. What is it? Corporate Volunteering (also known as Employee Volunteering) is where businesses support their employees to take on volunteering work in the community. Employee Volunteering is a way for businesses to come together with community organisations to help the community prosper.

Offering the Corporate Volunteering program gives your staff the opportunity to benefit through a sense of personal satisfaction, learning new skills, pathways to community involvement and opportunities to meet new people and explore new situations. Other benefits Increased staff satisfaction and retention, increased productivity, positive community profile and image, skill development and attitudinal change for employees. Source: Volunteering ACT

What are the benefits? Corporate Volunteering is often described as a ‘win-win-win’ because everyone benefits: the employees who volunteer, their employer and the community organisation they are helping. Corporate Volunteering is an effective form of exercising Corporate Social Responsibility. It offers businesses an alternative way to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility from donations or sponsorship.

33


Our Supporters

34


35


Statistics Domestic Felines

Domestic Cats

Domestic Kittens

Outcomes

This year

Last year

This year

Last year

This year

Last year

Reclaimed

167

226

144

203

23

23

Rehomed

1192

1243

457

441

735

802

In stock

67

71

46

39

21

32

Domestic euthanased

375

432

270

335

105

97

Feral euthanased

401

390

231

219

170

171

Other#

46

44

32

15

14

29

Total

2248

2406

1180

1252

1068

1154

Medical

287

325

188

243

99

82

Behavioural

88

107

82

92

6

15

Total

375

432

270

335

105

97

Domestic euthanasia reasons

#Other: includes dead on arrival, stolen, escaped, unassisted death

Canines

Dogs

Puppies

Outcomes

This year

Last year

This year

Last year

This year

Reclaimed

1024

967

961

885

63

Last year 82

Rehomed

389

358

183

149

206

209 44

In stock

69

100

45

56

24

Transferred*

152

245

151

244

1

1

Euthanased

132

117

105

92

27

25

Other#

9

20

3

5

6

15

Total

1775

1807

1448

1431

327

376

Domestic euthanasia reasons Medical

76

61

57

54

9

7

Behavioural

56

56

48

38

8

18

Total

132

117

105

92

27

25

*Transferred: RSPCA works collaboratively with Domestic Animal Services to maximise positive outcomes for dogs. RSPCA also received dogs from DAS and this figure is included in the total above.#Other: includes dead on arrival, stolen, escaped, unassisted death

36


Statistics Rabbits

Other (Rodents, ferrets, fish, reptiles, amphibians)

Guinea Pigs

Outcomes

This year

Last year

This year

Last year

This year

Reclaimed

15

17

3

-

5

Last year 10

Rehomed

81

118

49

90

91

73

In stock

7

17

3

8

6

33

Euthanased

80

91

31

33

16

48

Other#

6

13

-

1

9

8

Total

189

256

86

132

127

172

32

9

27

Euthanasia reasons Medical

60

90

25

Behavioural

20

1

6

1

7

21

Total

80

91

31

33

16

48

#Other: includes dead on arrival, stolen, escaped, unassisted death

Domestic Birds

Poultry

Last year

This year

Livestock

Outcomes

This year

Last year

This year

Last year

Reclaimed

14

20

2

4

-

2

Rehomed

84

103

58

88

7

5

In stock

30

12

16

8

-

1

Euthanased

4

8

16

20

-

5

Other#

10

7

13

1

-

-

Total

142

150

105

121

7

13

15

-

4

Euthanasia reasons Medical

4

7

12

Behavioural

0

1

4

5

-

1

Total

4

8

16

20

-

5

#Other: includes dead on arrival, stolen, escaped, unassisted death

37


Statistics Wildlife Report Animals in

This year

Last year

Animals released

This year

Last year

Mammals

21

24

Mammals

12

16

Marsupials

319

313

Marsupials

107

107

Monotremes

7

4

Monotremes

4

-

Native amphibians

2

8

Native Amphibians

1

1

Native birds

1829

1999

Native Birds

513

513

Native reptiles

120

154

Native Reptiles

40

60

Non-native birds#

334

256

Non-native Birds#

-

-

Non-native Mammals*

-

-

Non-native mammals*

25

19

Total

2657

2786

Total

677

697

Euthanasia

1836

2019

Other Outcomesâ€

94

90

#Includes Blackbirds, Pigeons, Indian Mynahs, Sparrows, Starlings *Includes Foxes, European Rabbits, Brown Rats, Wild Mice †Includes transferred out, escaped, dead on arrival

Inspectorate Investigation

38

Type of animal

Number of complaints

Number of prosecutions

Number of animals involved

Complaints investigated

668

Dogs

568

-

-

Complaints revisited

-

Cats

47

1

1 -

Prosecutions finalised

2

Cattle

4

-

Number of charges laid

4

Sheep

2

-

-

Number of people charged

3

Horses

11

1

1

Number of successful prosecutions (charges found and proven)

2

Poultry/Birds

12

-

-

Number of convictions recorded

2

Rabbits

18

-

-

Cases examined (trials / hearings)

2

Guinea Pigs

0

-

-

Cases pending (trials / hearings)

5

Other

6

-

-


WE LOVE

what we do


RSPCA ACT 12 Kirkpatrick Street, Weston ACT 2611 rspca-act.org.au | 1300 777221

RSPCA ACT Annual Review 12/13  
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