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Cat killed, Chronicle cries

By weeziepops 5 April 2010 24

The Canberra Chronicle this week reported as news the euthanasia of a cat by the RSPCA.  Why was this considered newsworthy? 

Because a woman claimed she had wanted the cat.  She had taken the cat to the RSPCA and said that she wished to take the cat if the owner was not found.  Whether this request was documented is unclear – an important point when one considers how many animals the RSPCA deals with every day.  The owner was found and surrendered the cat to the  RSPCA who, after vet and behavioural assessment, made the difficult decision to euthanise.  This is a pity.  It is a pity the cat died.  It is a pity the woman who found the cat did not end up being able to keep it.  Perhaps the greatest pity of all, however, is that the RSPCA received public criticism for the incident which was likely the result of simple miscommunication. 

RSPCA staff do not euthanise for the sake of it and must make tough decisions every day.  They also save thousands of lives and reunite thousands of pets with grateful owners. 

It is these stories which should be used to highlight the important role which the RSPCA plays in our community – not the far less common incidents of disgruntled or disappointed people who unfortunately did not get the outcome they wanted.


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Cat killed, Chronicle cries
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Captain RAAF 8:47 pm 06 May 10

It should not be up to the victim of a wandering cat to have to do anything in order to ‘make things easier’ for the owners of the cat. In fact, I consider the cost of a phone call to be more than the cat is worth. Fortunately, Weston Creek pound is on my way to work and cats I catch, and I catch quite a few, get dropped off there because it’s easy. It really annoys me when people say “You should contact the owners when you catch the cat..”, yeah right, so I can cop an earful on “why did you trap my cat?” and of course when it does go missing have them come to my house and expect me to know where it is.
Sorry, but if you cat owners will allow the cat to do what it likes and go where it pleases, then you can expect to do all the legwork and incur all the inconvenience and cost.

smeeagain 3:50 pm 07 Apr 10

altkey said :

A couple of years ago, close friends moved into an apartment with a courtyard that backed onto a reserve with houses on the other side of the reserve. Their cat, who had previously lived in a huge yard, was a little bit of an explorer and visited these houses. One of the neighbours in these houses took offence with this and called Animal Services/RSPCA everytime this cat entered their yard, despite the fact that the cat was clearly tagged with our friends contact details. On one of the numerous visits that our friends had to the RSPCA to collect their cat, the RSPCA explained that if the cat came back one more time they would gas, as it had exhibited anti-social behaviour. Our friends ended up resorting to putting their cat on a leash in their courtyard – end result, extremely unhappy cat.

A bit of common sense would not have gone astray here: neighbours should have called the owner of the cat, rather than wasting everyones time traipsing back forth between the RSPCA (possibly the RSPCA could have suggested this to the neighbours as well, but that is another story); RSPCA might use common sense when handling animals (some animals like humans do not like being handled by strangers).

Have been considering getting a dog, but as a result of stories like this have been put off by adopting one from the RSPCA, which is a real shame.

Or perhaps your friends could have been responsible pet owners and kept their cat within their own property? Not everyone likes cats and why should they have to put up with a neighbours animal coming into their yard, using it as a litter tray and possibly killing wildlife?

Numerous visits to the RSPCA to collect their cat indicates that it was an habitual wanderer. Why should the neighbours have to be responsible for it’s safety or welfare? They’re quite within their rights to trap it and have it removed from their property. Or when their cat is attacked by a dog because it has wandered into their yard? Who should pay the vet bills?

Tell your friends to have a cat run built in their courtyard, then everyone will be happy and their cat will be safer.

I’m sure that if a dog came into your friends yard on numerous occasions they would be calling Domestic Animal services to come and pick it up. Unfortunately, only some suburbs have laws relating to cats.

No, I don’t hate cats. I have two of my own. I just think people should actually be responsible for their own pets and not expect that everyone else should put up with them

threepaws 9:54 am 07 Apr 10

I don’t think shows like RSPCA Animal Rescue would film in small town Canberra…

I posted this Stateline article a few weeks ago about the RSPCA ACT http://the-riotact.com/?p=19141

Worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already

Mordd 9:39 pm 06 Apr 10

pinklink said :

Hi, Michael Linke, CEO of RSPCA ACT here.

Firstly Justin “When our moggy turns up his toes, our next pet will come from a pet shop, not the RSPCA.” Perhaps you should read page 2 of the Chronicle today. No matter what people think of RSPCA, getting an animal from a pet shop is simply wrong.

Agree with the above 100%, and to make a comment like that based on experience with 1 staff person is ridiculous, the RSPCA is there providing a service, what do you expect, gold star service just because you’re willing to adopt an aminal, but oh yes blame the entire organisation for what was probably just 1 person having a bad day, is immature in the extreme Justin. A good cat owner should know that buying a cat from a pet shop is a terrible thing to do, and no-one who cared about the welfare of cats would ever do so.

Good on the RSPCA, they do a great job and anyone who thinks they don’t is clearly demented in my personal opinion, each to their own though.

Gin02 8:42 pm 06 Apr 10

I think the ACT RSPCA do a good job in tough times, but as a watcher of the TV show, I am at times concerned with the ‘behaviour testing’ that gets shown and the seemingly quick decision of putting the animal to sleep.

While I understand that editing gets done in tv world and entertainment is important, it would be really good if the ACT shelter could get a story on the program to show that not all animals with behaviour problems get disposed of straight away and more effort is put into rehabilitating the animal before putting it to sleep than is currently shown on the program.

merlin bodega 7:08 pm 06 Apr 10

Working in a place like the RSPCA is a tough task that not many of us would be up to. Our dog came from the RSPCA and we wouldn’t have it any other way. When I heard about puppy farms I couldn’t believe it.

el 6:49 pm 06 Apr 10

Just another ‘thanks’ to Mr Linke for responding here to set things straight, and for the thankless and amazing work the RSPCA does. Cheers.

weeziepops 5:59 pm 06 Apr 10

Could have been a volunteer – there used to be a volunteer there who was pretty vocal and clearly thought the rules for staff didn’t apply to her…

pinklink 5:06 pm 06 Apr 10

Justin – I suspect the employee is no longer with us. I agree to our people being passionate, but customer service comes first and I would not condone this action.

sloppery 3:09 pm 06 Apr 10

weeziepops said :

Good on you for chiming in on this matter, Michael. It’s good to see that RSPCA ACT is prepared to engage with the community on issues like this. BTW, I think you guys do a great job and wish all RSPCA branches had your no-kill policies and high homing rate.

+1. Keep up the good work – the community appreciates it.

justin heywood 3:01 pm 06 Apr 10

pinklink said :

No matter what people think of RSPCA, getting an animal from a pet shop is simply wrong….. Justin I would like to hear about your episode in the car park so I can correct it and work with the staff member.Michael

Thanks for the response Michael. I agree that the practices of some pet shops are not ethical, which is why, in our case, we were at the RSPCA in the first place.

Excuse the off topic conversation, but you asked for further details of my story above: we were in a line of customers, as my daughter had been saving for a cat. While in the line, the lady in front heard us and mentioned that her cat had recently had a litter and asked if we would like one of its kittens. We agreed to look at them, and waited in the carpark for her to finish. We were exchanging phone numbers when the staffer approached us. She said that she had overheard us and that the RSPCA was not a ‘clearing house’ for unwanted pets etc, in a manner aggressive enough to upset my daughter. We had not spoken to her or any other RSPCA staffer inside.

I understand that to work for the RSPCA one has to be passionate about animals, but I think in this instance she had let her passion get the better of her. No matter her views on what she had overheard, I think that it was wrong to approach us in the carpark.

weeziepops 2:49 pm 06 Apr 10

Good on you for chiming in on this matter, Michael. It’s good to see that RSPCA ACT is prepared to engage with the community on issues like this. BTW, I think you guys do a great job and wish all RSPCA branches had your no-kill policies and high homing rate.

pinklink 1:35 pm 06 Apr 10

Hi, Michael Linke, CEO of RSPCA ACT here.

Firstly Justin “When our moggy turns up his toes, our next pet will come from a pet shop, not the RSPCA.” Perhaps you should read page 2 of the Chronicle today. No matter what people think of RSPCA, getting an animal from a pet shop is simply wrong.

Now to behaviour testing. Sadly the TV show does not do it justice nor has an RSPCA ACT behaviour test ever featured on the show. In 2009 RSPCA ACT managed 1660 dogs, only 54 failed a behaviour assessment, that’s 3%. We homed 93% of dogs in 2009, the other 4% put to sleep were for medical reasons.

RSPCA ACT is the only RSPCA that engages qualified behaviour trainers. Our system is by far the best system and ensures dogs go home. If dogs fail, they are worked on and we engage ongoing behaviour modification.

With regard to cats, we are the only shelter that does cat assessments, and again an assessment gives us an insight into a cat before we work with it to adjust its behaviour. The case in the Chronicle is light on facts and much of what I gave the reporter was not covered. The cat was very aggressive, was given time to settle here and was worked on and observed by a number of skilled staff.

62 cats of the 2489 we handled in 2009 failed a temperament test. 104 of the 2489 cats we managed could not be handled at all by our staff.

In many cases animals undergo multiple tests, no animal is ever put to sleep on the results of one test, unless the results are so severe that we can not see any way for the animal to improve. In some cases a cat will not be tested as it is too aggressive as it poses OH&S risks for staff.

Feral cats are categorised separately.

We are proud of our work and encourage feedback. Justin I would like to hear about your episode in the car park so I can correct it and work with the staff member.

Michael

Funky1 1:17 pm 06 Apr 10

justin heywood said :

When our moggy turns up his toes, our next pet will come from a pet shop, not the RSPCA.

And therefore supporting the puppy/kitten farms that most pet shops get their stock from.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:45 am 06 Apr 10

If Einstein wanted the cat why did Einstein take it to the RSPCA?

To find if it had an owner, ‘Einstein’. No wonder your user name is only two letters long. You’d forget it otherwise.

Thumper 10:20 am 06 Apr 10

My cats came from the RSPCA. They’re great.

Jim Jones 9:59 am 06 Apr 10

jthommo said :

Native birds are a little safer after that miscommunication. There should be more of it.

And if we killed you, then lots of cows, chickens, fish and other animals would be a lot safer … also, the world would be slightly more intelligent.

justin heywood 9:58 am 06 Apr 10

Danman said :

RSPCA (with whom I have zero affiliation) do a great job day in and day out, the sad thing is that people only notice how good a job they are doing when they have an occasional slip up.

I agree Danman that the RSPCA play a vital role in animal welfare and I’m sure the staff do their best in a tough job. BUT, I have had two bad experiences with the RSPCA. Granted, they probably have cause to be careful, given some of the situations they encounter, but I have found them high-handed and officious. Not everyone mistreats their animals. We certainly don’t.

At one stage we were being harangued in the RSPCA carpark by a staffer, while my daughter was almost in tears. The staffer knew nothing about us or the animal involved, but had simply overheard a conversation while we were waiting to be served. She had then taken it upon herself to follow us out to the car and give us the benefit of her views.

When our moggy turns up his toes, our next pet will come from a pet shop, not the RSPCA.

prhhcd 9:52 am 06 Apr 10

There are a lot of lovely animals looking for new homes. Ones that do pass behavioural assessments. This is a real shame for that lady but the RSPCA does all they can, so lets lay off this critical service to the community.
If you are looking to adopt a cat (or other pet) see http://www.petrescue.com.au/ The RSPCA lists their adoptable animals there as well as several other rescue agencies around Australia.

Danman 8:50 am 06 Apr 10

So a handfull (if that) of bad stories about the RSPCA and you are now not interested in saving the life of an animal that may potentially be marked for death?..

Regardless of who is the bad party here, if I had it in my power to save any animal from death I would, now you say that as a result of stories like the one posted, you have been put off of adopting one from the RSPCA ?

I dunno about you, but no matter how evil (if evil at all) the RSPCA is, I woul dstill save an animal from an uncertain future.

RSPCA (with whom I have zero affiliation) do a great job day in and day out, the sad thing is that people only notice how good a job they are doing when they have an occasional slip up.

Regardless, slip up or not, there are plenty of lives at stake – by ruling out adopting from teh RSPCA – you have now just increased the odds of a bad outcome.

If you were serious about adopting a pet to save its life, I woul dhave thought that the story presented by the OP would have youy racing over there, however, you choose the oppisite. (Insert Leonard Nemoy voice) – I find this highly illogical.

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