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RSPCA hypocrisy

By smeeagain - 4 September 2011 95

I’m a big supporter of the RSPCA, and have great respect for the work they do.  However, I am becoming a little tired of the hypocritical statements constantly issued by Michael Linke.

The recent story about Lucky the Bomb dog, missing in Afganistan, contained the following statement

“The RSPCA has delivered a sharp rebuke to the ACT Government for intentionally putting Lucky into harm’s way.

RSPCA ACT chief executive officer Michael Linke said it was ”totally inappropriate” for a pound to be releasing dogs into an environment where they could be hurt or killed.

”We would hope that the pound and the Government immediately review its policy on this, and bring it into line with the RSPCA policy,” Mr Linke said.

”We won’t home dogs into police combat situations, or military combat situations or bomb detector [roles]. We don’t believe that governments and pounds should be doing that either.”

The RSPCA ACT homepage contains this statement

“A world where all animals have the best chance at finding a home or being returned to the wild where they belong. At RSPCA ACT, we live this dream every day. Every companion animal is given a chance at finding a home. Every native animal is given a chance to be returned to the wild.

Our ability to find homes for companion animals is unparalleled. Nine out of ten dogs go to a home and eight out of ten domestic cats go to a home. We have received international acclaim for our ground breaking work with companion animals.”

Mr Linke regularly touts that they have the best stats in Australia and they never euthanise an animal that doesn’t fail a temperament test.

Have you ever wondered how they maintain these statistics?

A quick look at the Domestic Animals Service website will quickly reveal how the RSPCA keep their euthanasia stats so low.  They transfer the dogs they haven’t been able to rehome to DAS.  These aren’t dogs that have failed a temperament test (in which case RSPCA would euthanise them).  These are dogs that have just been sitting around for too long, costing the RSPCA money in food and care.

A look today shows that 7 out of the 39 dogs on the DAS website were transferred from the RSPCA.  According to the stats provided above 9 out of 10 dogs go to a home.

According to the comment made by Mr Linke above, it is inappropriate to rehome an animal into a situation where it may be injured or rehomed.

DAS only keeps dogs for 7 days Mr Linke, and then they euthanise them.  By transferring them to DAS, you are intentionally placing them at much greater risk of death than rehoming a dog to the armed services.  I fail to see how you are giving them every chance at finding a home when you have willingly sentenced them to a certain death.

I would love to see a true reflection of your annual statistics, that shows how many dogs you actually rehomed, how many you transferred to DAS and of those that were transferred to DAS, how many of them were euthanised.  Until you put those figures into your annual report, your statistics are seriously flawed.

For the record, on 3rd September, Yard 10, yard 36, yard 27, yard 2, yard 6, yard 16 and yard 25 at DAS are all currently occupied by dogs that have been transferred from the RSPCA, since the 23rd of August.  That’s 7 dogs in 12 days.

These numbers are not unusual.  Any given day will show a number of dogs transferred from the RSPCA.

What’s Your opinion?


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95 Responses to
RSPCA hypocrisy
Watson 1:24 pm 04 Sep 11

Wow, that sounded overly defensive and the tone was quite patronising. Just a factual reply would have sufficed.

Fair enough that they transfer dogs to DAS if they can be reunited with their owner and appropriate action taken to try and ensure they don’t end up in care again.

Still, without the various volunteers working with DAS, a lot more dogs would be euthanised there. That’s not to say the RSPCA doesn’t do a great job too. I didn’t know about them rescuing dogs from DAS though.

I got my first dog from the RSPCA. She’d was an unclaimed stray that had been there for 6 weeks. I was very grateful that the RSPCA saved her so I got to enjoy her company for the 10 years before she died recently.

creative_canberran 1:02 pm 04 Sep 11

shadow boxer said :

What an extraordinary rant from the CEO of a (largely) government funded organisation. All I got from it was the relationship between DAS, the Minister and the RSPCA is in tatters and this is clearly the remit of the respective CEO’s.

Oh yeh, and bring back my fireworks……

Rednecks… the one bit of evidence against both evolution and creationism at the same time.

At home fireworks = childish play things for the same crowd who like grey hound racing and monster trucks after a meal at Hooters.

As for RSPCA, they are not “largely” government funded, in fact I think a very small percentage of their income comes from government grants. And regardless of the sum of government support, how exactly is it “extraordinary” for the CEO of an organisation to defend that organisation in which they invest themselves? Are you advocating for some vale of silence to fall over any organisation who receives government funds. How does that work with ensuring responsible government?

laughtong 12:57 pm 04 Sep 11

shadow boxer said :

What an extraordinary rant from the CEO of a (largely) government funded organisation. All I got from it was the relationship between DAS, the Minister and the RSPCA is in tatters and this is clearly the remit of the respective CEO’s..

The point being that the RSPCA is doing a lot of the work that GovCo should be doing – it is part of the resposibilities of GovCo. RSPCA here are getting little government funding. Certainly not funding comensurate with the work they are untaking.

DAS is also severely underfunded and is having to close some days of the week.

GovCo is who you should be complaining to – complain loud and long to make them fund their animal management responsibilites at levels which will alloiw the work to be undertake properly and not rely on a charity to do it for them.

shadow boxer 12:27 pm 04 Sep 11

What an extraordinary rant from the CEO of a (largely) government funded organisation. All I got from it was the relationship between DAS, the Minister and the RSPCA is in tatters and this is clearly the remit of the respective CEO’s.

Oh yeh, and bring back my fireworks……

koalathebear 12:08 pm 04 Sep 11

Great post Michael. I’m a bit dubious about the RSPCA in other states and territories but I’m a big fan of the work that you and the RSPCA do here in the ACT. I hope you keep up the good work – thank you for posting with such clarity and so factually. I hope it gets through to a few people.

Skidbladnir 12:07 pm 04 Sep 11

I like your style, Mr Linke.
*tips hat*

frenzied1 12:06 pm 04 Sep 11

‘Did you know, Smeeagain, that our staff go to DAS and collect dogs on the euthanasia list?’

RSPCA staff have not taken any dogs from DAS for a number of months now so this is not true.

‘Did you know, Smeeagain, that pressure from RSPCA helped DAS staff to acquire a washing machine?’

This is not true the DAS Volunteers actually were the ones that pushed for this. All we need now is for the Govt to actually give DAS more funding so they can hire more staff so they might have time to actually be able to use the machine!!!!

‘Did you know, Smeeagain, that every dog RSPCA sends to DAS is vaccinated before we send it to protect against is disease? In 2010/11 we did this at our own expense.’

Again that was true months ago but from what I have heard you are no longer orividing that service unless DAS pay the RSPCA

‘Did you know, Smeeagain, that I get a list of all dogs scheduled for euthanasia from a private source every Monday morning and we review each of these dogs and get many of them back to RSPCA ACT?’

Repeating yourself this is not true anymore.

‘Did you know, Smeeagain, that RSPCA DOES NOT send our euthanasia cases to DAS. Heaven forbid, my staff and volunteers would lynch me. Have you seen this process in action at DAS and RSPCA? If you did you would know that this would never happen. We are serious about animal welfare, we are honest about what we do and we are mature – we never, ever shift this aspect of our business. For you to suggest it simply shows your entire tirade to be false and misleading and designed to damage me and or RSPCA. ‘

I believe Smeeagain actually pointed out that she fully supports the work that the RSPCA does, it would be nice to just have all the facts.

Based on what you have written should we expect that the RSPCA will be going to DAS on Monday to pick up the 10 or more dogs that have not yet found rescue???

Also on a side note in regards to Lucky the courageous War hero, the RSPCA have in the past also released dogs to the Air Force so people in glass houses.

pinklink 11:48 am 04 Sep 11

A couple of more points…

RSPCA ACT is the only place in Canberra to take stray cats. Again, this is another local council responsibility, however RSPCA cares for every stray and surrendered cat in Canberra, with no direct government funding for this service.

With regard to pest control, RSPCA today uses the most humane products available.

As humans we too recognise the service of our fallen soldiers, that however does not stop people from protesting or speaking out against war in general.

Perhaps rather than criticising RSPCA – an organisation that largely does good in our society people should work with us and assist solve some of our animal welfare problems in Canberra. I know the animals would appreciate it.

Michael Linke
CEO
RSPCA ACT

pinklink 11:30 am 04 Sep 11

Hi Smeeagain and others. It’s Michael Linke here, CEO of RSPCA ACT.

It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed people are, despite me talking about this issue for a number of years, both in the media and here on the Riot Act. So here it goes again for those of you who still think what Smeeagain has said is accurate.

Lucky
With regard to this issue, RSPCA has in place a national policy that precludes any RSPCA shelter from rehoming animals into potentially dangerous situations. See our policy here:

http://kb.rspca.org.au/RSPCA-Policy-C01-Animals-in-sport-entertainment-recreation-and-work-general-principles_172.html

I was simply communicating that fact.

Rehoming Rates
What Smeeagain fails to note is that the only dogs ever transferred to DAS are stray dogs. CanberraGirl19 thinks we hide our euthanasia cases under the rug, this is quite simply rubbish. Stray dogs that remain at RSPCA after seven days become ours and stay with us until we get an outcome. We never transfer a long-term dog to DAS.

Smeeagain, and our Minister, Simon Corbell, both think it is OK for RSPCA ACT to undertake work on stray dogs, which is the role of a local council, at RSPCA ACT’s expense.

All being equal all strays should go to DAS and RSPCA should look after all other dogs. This is a point not accepted by our minister – see it’s cheaper for him to allow RSPCA to do the work of a local council pound and not fund us for this work because he knows we will do it as we are focused on animal welfare and we would never want a dog to suffer.

So when we transfer the stray dog that has escaped its backyard four times, or the undesexed stray that has presented for the third time or the aggressive dog still not being controlled by irresponsible owners and we say, “hey DAS can you take this dog and enforce the ACT legislation (which RSPCA is not authorised to do) and try to improve the overall welfare for this case” you think we are doing something wrong. Give me a break.

Did you know, Smeeagain, that our staff go to DAS and collect dogs on the euthanasia list?

Did you know, Watson, that we do work with rescue groups and we have a positive and healthy relationship with all of the groups in Canberra?

Did you know, CanberraGirl19, that we do publish how many dogs get transferred to DAS in our annual report and have done for a few years. We don’t hide behind anything and we don’t keep it a secret. The fact is the management of stray dogs is a local government responsibility.

Did you know, Smeeagain, that RSPCA ACT has donated food, bedding, training, support, advice and our entire volunteer program to DAS at no cost?

Did you know, Smeeagain, that pressure from RSPCA helped DAS staff to acquire a washing machine?

Did you know, Smeeagain, that every dog RSPCA sends to DAS is vaccinated before we send it to protect against is disease? In 2010/11 we did this at our own expense.

Did you know, Smeeagain, that I get a list of all dogs scheduled for euthanasia from a private source every Monday morning and we review each of these dogs and get many of them back to RSPCA ACT?

Did you know, Smeeagain, that RSPCA DOES NOT send our euthanasia cases to DAS. Heaven forbid, my staff and volunteers would lynch me. Have you seen this process in action at DAS and RSPCA? If you did you would know that this would never happen. We are serious about animal welfare, we are honest about what we do and we are mature – we never, ever shift this aspect of our business. For you to suggest it simply shows your entire tirade to be false and misleading and designed to damage me and or RSPCA.

Beserk, I refer you to our widespread live export campaign.

2010/11 Figures
During the last financial year DAS transferred 67 animals to RSPCA; 24 dogs, 17 puppies, 13 cats, 8 kittens, 1 ferret, 4 guinea pigs.

RSPCA also received 3,509 stray animals; 1,081 dogs, 216 puppies, 868 cats, 1,022 kittens, 99 birds, 15 ferrets, 50 chickens, 8 goats, 7 guinea pigs, 114 rabbits, 17 rodents, 3 sheep and 2 domesticated lizards.

So 1,297 dogs/puppies that were stray. Or in other words ones that should be looked after by the local council pound.

Of the strays we reunited 923 lost dogs and puppies with their owners. Or we did 71% of DAS’s work for them and found owners.

Where this wasn’t possible, or the dog was a repeat offender, or there were other concerns regarding ownership we sent the dog to DAS to work with. This happened with 219 dogs and no puppies. A net transfer of some 195 (219 minus the 24 they sent us), or 182 if you include puppies.

DAS work with about 2,000 dogs, so less than 10% of DAS’s intake is from RSPCA for legitimate, considered reasons. DAS claims its homing rate is 95%, similar to RSPCA. So one would surmise that most of these dogs in fact went back to their owners. DAS only euthanase 5% of dogs, or 100 dogs last financial year based on this estimate – I don’t know DAS’s figures, so this is purely a guess.

It would seem, Smeeagain, that very few, if any of the dogs RSPCA send to DAS are actually euthanased based on these figures.

I invite you into RSPCA Smeeagain so you can see all of the facts and continue your support of RSPCA.

Michael Linke
CEO RSPCA ACT

frenzied1 11:14 am 04 Sep 11

Couldn’t agree more, the public are not being told the whole truth. Currently there are pups under 6 months at DAS apparently another thing that the RSPCA would not allow to happen.

I-filed 10:41 am 04 Sep 11

Beserk Keyboard Warrior said :

The RSPCA is the protector of all animals… so long as they’re cute and fluffy.

Too true – when I phoned RSPCA Canberra to get advice about humane pest control a few years ago the office worker told me that they poison rats on their premises with standard cruel commercial baits, and she was horrified.

NickD 10:19 am 04 Sep 11

It’s probably also worth noting that the RSPCA awarded Sarbi the bomb dog its “most prestigious animal bravery award .., the Purple Cross” a few months ago: http://www.rspca.org.au/news/rspca-awards-sarbi-the-purple-cross.html

It seems a bit odd that the RSPCA awarded this medal to the dog for her “service to humans” in Afghanistan, yet criticises the deployment of other bomb dogs to Afghanistan…

Beserk Keyboard Warr 9:46 am 04 Sep 11

The RSPCA is the protector of all animals… so long as they’re cute and fluffy.

CanberraGirl19 9:24 am 04 Sep 11

The RSPCA has done this for years. They stand there all high and mighty and proclaim how they never euthanise dogs, and then shove under the rug the fact that they give dogs to DAS on a regular basis.

I’m a huge fan of animal rescue organisations and the work they do, but the RSPCA seems to be turning into an Australian PETA.

Watson 9:04 am 04 Sep 11

I noticed that the other day when I was looking at the dogs on the DAS website. Meant to ask the RSPCA staff about it as I went there to look for a dog.

I wonder also why they do not seem to work with the local rescue organisations. They have one dog there that has been there for so long (talking years – can’t remember how many) that there is little chance he’ll ever be rehabilitated again.

There does indeed seem to be some room for improvement there. And especially because surely their ‘no euthanasia’ policy is one of the reasons why they get so many donations from the public. While DAS has to make do on a tiny budget.

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