Rival rally to protest RSPCA animal kill rate

Hunter animal lovers will stage a protest against the number of animals being killed by RSPCA NSW – at the same time the RSPCA holds its annual fund-raiser at Morpeth.

More than 100 people are expected to attend the Justice4Max Vigil at Morpeth Common from 9.30am on May 19 – just metres away from where the RSPCA NSW will host its popular Million Paws Walk.

The protesters are concerned by the number of dogs and cats euthanised by RSPCA NSW – 50.6 per cent of the total it took into its shelters, according to the organisation’s own figures for 2011-2012.

Aberdare resident David Atwell, the vice president for the Society of Companion Animal Rescuers, said this was an unacceptable situation.

“Even though the RSPCA claim that they’re here for the animals, they end up killing more companion animals than they save. 

“Last year alone they killed around 14,500 cats and dogs from about 28,000 in their care.  This amounts to an overall kill ratio of 50.6 per cent. 

“This is unacceptable given pounds such as Muswellbrook and Wyong, which co-operate with rescue groups, have kill rates of just 8 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

“This event is about educating the public that there is a better way, that there are alternatives. You can’t claim you’re here for the animals when you destroy 15,000 of them.”

But RSPCA NSW chief executive officer Steve Coleman has defended the organisation’s actions: “We don’t take euthanasia lightly, and we don’t kill healthy animals unnecessarily.”

“The RSPCA’s annual euthanasia statistics may appear high, but at closer glance the figures are quite telling,” he said. 

“Of the 4862 dogs euthanised by RSPCA NSW last financial year, 62 per cent were put down due to behavioural reasons; nearly 35 per cent were humanely euthanised due to disease and other medical conditions. 

“It would be unethical and socially irresponsible to re-home many of the animals that come through our doors. 

“Even still, the RSPCA continues to improve, invest and innovate in order to increase re-homing and reduce euthanasia statistics.”

One of those animals killed last financial year was the mascot of the Justice4Max group – a German short-haired pointer named Max.

He was impounded by the Rutherford shelter and euthanised after failing the RSPCA’s behavioural test – an act which was surrounded by controversy as Mr Atwell said he was a “typical normal family dog” whose owner had been trying to reclaim him at the time.

One of Max’s foster carers from Dog Rescue Newcastle will speak at the vigil, along with Mr Atwell and Anne Greenway from Lawyers for Companion Animals.

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