MARK ALDRIDGE - Lead Senate candidate for the "GREAT AUSTRALIAN PARTY"
RSPCA, do they protect all animals in need? 

MARK ALDRIDGE Community and Animal welfare Advocate, Independent Candidate for the seat of Makin, Experienced local campaigner for the community of the North, Founder of FARM DIRECT Community Markets to retain access to fresh affordable local produce, create jobs and support the local and Australian farming community. Anim CatRSPCA Australia (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is an Australian organisation that promotes animal welfare. 

It is funded in part by the Australian Government but relies on corporate sponsorship, fundraising events and voluntary donations for its income. 

Government donations in SA alone total around $760,000 with a total income for the RSPCA of $9,294.620 which includes over 3 million from the passing of benefactors. The financials are only available to members upon requests but total expenses are listed at over $6,766.256.

The latest facts and figures show the RSPCA in South Australia alone have accumulated excesses of over $15 million dollars, money that could be better spent on supporting non kill shelters and ideals, or be used to address de-sexing and increased public education. 

RSPCA Australia defines its purpose as being the leading authority in animal care and protection, and to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. RSPCA Inspectors are Special Constables, and often attend prosecutions of animal mutilators and abusers. 

Being Special Constables means that Australian RSPCA Inspectors are also police officers with full police powers. In past years Inspectors have shown a lack of knowledge of the laws they are enforcing, and have been criticised for exceeding their powers when dealing both the public and non kill shelters. 

The objectives of the Society are purported as: 

i To prevent cruelty to animals by enforcing the existing laws. To procure the passage of such amending or new legislation as is necessary for the protection of animals. To sustain an intelligent public opinion regarding animal welfare. 

ii To take whatsoever steps are necessary to educate the community with regard to the humane treatment of animals. 

iii To diffuse information about the care, protection and treatment of animals by publishing and circulating literature and conducting lectures, seminars and competitions. 

iv To conduct, manage, operate or encourage clinics, hospitals, homes or shelters for the care, treatment, maintenance and protection of animals, and to acquire and conduct ambulance and/or other means of relevant animal transport. 

The main issue found while investigating the RSPCA relates directly to their success in the homing of animals, in SA just over 4000 dogs alone were handed into their shelters, many of those from local councils (4017) 2021 were reunited with the owners, creating more profit for their organisation.

The figures that make a mockery of their huge profits are these, of the dogs left 740 are adopted, 323 are transferred to where I am not sure and 870 are Killed, which is a huge kill rate, when we add cats into these figures kill rates go through the roof 783 adopted 1381 Killed.

The very fact well over 60% of animals are killed is made worse by the reason "Behavioural issues" as if these poor animals are being punished for past treatment by inhumane people.

Reports from all over the country relating to the re-homing of companion animals by non kill rescue groups is met with the statement "there is no law to compel us to work with other rescue groups nor hand over any animal that is on our kill list" from the RSPCA lawyers, ask your self, why would they need to be compelled to hand over healthy animals, rather than choose to kill them.

So even though the RSPCA has many non kill options, they choose not to take them, even when the offers from non kill shelters are of no cost to them.

MARK ALDRIDGE Community and Animal welfare Advocate, Independent Candidate for the seat of Makin, Experienced local campaigner for the community of the North, Founder of FARM DIRECT Community Markets to retain access to fresh affordable local produce, create jobs and support the local and Australian farming community. Moorook lost animalThis elderly dog had lived in a shelter for some time and was already receiving care, he was taken from his safe enclosure by the RSPCA and put down, because he had eye and hearing issues, this photos was taken a week earlier  does he look happy?

The biggest issue is that of secrecy, where questions are rarely answered which reflects poorly on the integrity of the facts and figures published by the society. 

In 2010 the Society in SA reported 2680 cruelty complaints that related directly to dogs, yet rescue levels were only around 10% of that figure, and several past attempted prosecutions clearly showed they lacked the experience to prosecute in the more important cases.

RSPCA in Australia receive over $81 million a year, (2009) 57% of that money goes to running the corporation and their modern city offices, for all of Australia they only employ 100 officers, with many rescues given to self funded rescue organisations who receive nothing from the RSPCA, 

All up they have 1100 employees, but most of the work is done by 7000 volunteers who are also not paid, their over all animals rescued which includes the work of the volunteers is 161,990 but only 69,000 are reunited or re-homed, so 57% of animals are put down, but with all the secrecy this figure could be clouded by spin. (because reclaimed animals are included in their national figures)

Over 46 million dollars goes to their corporate sector, who make decisions like attacking the good work of shelters like Moorook, rather than helping them and supporting the animals in their care.

It would be ideal to mention here that many rescues reported to the RSPCA are then passed on by the society to local self funded rescuers, but the society claim those successes, even though the costs are not covered by the RSPCA but rather those who are self funded, in one case a well known native rescuer received a total of $30 for hundreds of rescues.

It is interesting to note that privately run shelters and rescue groups have a very low euthanasia rate, as low as 2%, yet government funding and resources are not made available to the smaller organisations, even though their success rates are so much higher. 

Like wise animal welfare legislation frowns upon non kill shelters, yet rewards and empowers the RSPCA.

"Councils pass on found animals, the RSPCA pass on rescues, yet in both cases the one thing they do not pass on is support services or the funding they receive for doing nothing."

On the topic of euthanasia rates the RSPCA have very low tolerance to older animals, and tend to err on the side of what ages and breeds will be easier to on sell/re-home as the case maybe. 

MARK ALDRIDGE Community and Animal welfare Advocate, Independent Candidate for the seat of Makin, Experienced local campaigner for the community of the North, Founder of FARM DIRECT Community Markets to retain access to fresh affordable local produce, create jobs and support the local and Australian farming community. Moorook lost animal eye sightThis poor boy was taken from a caring safe environment and killed by the RSPCA based on the loss of eyesight, he was such a happy boy RIP

In recent times they apply very strict compliance rules on competing shelters and rescue organisations, beyond what could be considered reasonable, with guidelines based around what the society can provide with its massive funding rather than simply addressing the health concerns and secure environment of the animals themselves.

Some examples; 

(1) A private shelter rescues an injured animal, employs the usual health and veterinary care, if the RSPCA were to visit before the animal had healed or was restored to health, under current performance the animal would be seized, and in many cases put down, even though if left where they are, have an excellent chance at finding a forever home. 

Moorook  by Kat 104This enclosure which is well fenced, shaded, secure kennel, water, food and daily exercise, but the RSPCA ordered it be concreted, or the non kill shelter would be closed, this is an enclosure used when an animal in a non kill shelter has passed quarantine and is to be held for longer periods awaiting adoption

Animals kept in suitable enclosures that are not concreted for instance would also be considered unacceptable and the rescue or shelter would be ordered to comply, even where such orders could not be met, yet the animals have adequate food and shelter, support services and are of good health.

non compliance with the RSPCA can result in legal action, forced entry, animal siezure and subsequent murder of healthy animals.  

Taking an animal from any shelter that has put the animal through quarantine, vet checks, behavioural training, de-sexing, micro chipping and all the hard work of genuine volunteers have put in, and killing it, is NOT what the community expects of the RSPCA, no what their name suggest's.

"Such compliance would then endure council red tape, development planning and extensive drainage, which in the most would become un-achievable."

The RSPCA are now a huge business enterprise, with profits writing high on the agenda, they now run RSPCA approved puppy farms, RSPCA approved eggs, chicken, thrift shops and even visa cards.

On a very recent case, the RSPCA ignored the legislative protocols and entered unannounced into a privately run non kill animal shelter, even though they had been regular visitors, taking several animals, based on their ideal of the acceptability of re-homing rather than their health and security, with supporters denied information on how many were euthanized and even if survivors would ever be returned.

Trained vet nursed, the trained shelter operator and the many volunteers on hand were shocked and in tears, when healthy animals were taken, never to return, from one of the most successful shelters in the state.

In the latest media releases the seized animals are now the property of the RSPCA, and will most probably be put down.

In this case to avoid closure this very successful shelter was expected to mimic the resources of the RSPCA or shut its doors, even though its success rate exceeded those of the Society itself without the huge funding the RSPCA receive. 

Such a dismissive attitude to the public that fund them and to the ideals of genuine animal safety is having a huge toll on the integrity of the very ideals that formulated the creation of the RSPCA. 

Dare we as a community allow an organisation with so much power dictate to those self funded shelters that are performing so much better, one would think it more pertinent that the RSPCA took a feather out of the cap of the genuine non kill shelters? 

When I personally questioned a RSPCA officer on their powers, they confirmed they can enter any property and take any animal they so chose, an issue that I refute, and a question our parliament should indeed question.

In England and various other countries similar organisation to that of the RSPCA receive more complaints than any other organisation, something that reflects in many ways on the current direction of the RSPCA. 

In a recent media article, the RSPCA were again exposed deceiving the public, a feel good story about the homing of several animals, showed the proud new owners lined up with their new family members, a range or gorgeous dogs, this piece was all about raising more money. Then the truth came out, one of the people in the photo, admitted they were in fact an RSPCA officer, and the rest were staff members, and the very next day, some of these gorgeous dogs were put down, yet still no one dare ask why in fear of legal threats.

The legislation that empowers the RSPCA places fair limits on how they must interact with the public and indeed other competing shelters and sanctuaries, section 31 demands they give fair notice when inspections are to take place, yet regular complaints show this to not be the case.   

Under section 31A, Special powers relating to animals given, an inspector may examine an animal and its living conditions and, if the inspector suspects on reasonable grounds that the animal is suffering or may if urgent action is not taken suffer unnecessary harm, do 1 or more of the following: 
(a) provide treatment and care for the animal; 
(b) cause the living conditions of the animal to be modified; 
(c) seize and retain the animal for treatment and care 

Recent exposes on the society clearly show that their ideals of reasonable grounds are very much less than what the average person would consider reasonable.   

In a recent case the RSPCA has been forced to defend a "temperament test" used to decide whether dogs are re-homed or euthanized, amid claims the assessment is being misused and animals are not given the best chance at life. The case in question appears to prove the RSPCA use the excuse of behavioural issues to keep numbers in their shelters down.

The RSPCA put down more than 4800 dogs in NSW last financial year, about 40 per cent of dogs brought in. More than 60 per cent of those were killed due to "behavioural" problems, this figure once again is masked by reclaimed dogs which can account for over 40% of all dogs deposited at their shelters

Over 60% of dogs being put down are due to behaviour, as if the animals are being punished for having been abused, non kill shelters work with behavioural  so why cant the RSPCA, I have seen written offers from exerts in the field offering free services, which have been ignored.

The overall rate of dogs killed far exceeds most council pounds that work with "no-kill" animal rescue groups, and appears based on the RSPCA’s ability to re-home in a timely manner rather than based on the animals health or indeed their best interests.

The RSPCA recently released to the Herald a copy of its behavioural assessments, otherwise known as "temperament tests", after initially refusing the request on confidentiality grounds. It showed dogs are scored negatively for behaviour such as barking, trembling and jumping. Those that accrue more than 100 points are deemed "unsuitable for adoption". 

In the most recent case where I was personally in attendance, the RSPCA officers picked out only one dog of over 80 dogs and 50 cats at one of SA’s leading none kill shelters for having a skin irritation, the very same dog was a new arrival and had been vet checked and was undergoing treatment. 

Only a few days earlier the same inspector has questioned the same animal and demanded it had vet checks, which the owner carried out under orders of the RSPCA for a second time. 

The vets that checked the animal had no understanding why it was brought back for another check, because they had already treated the animal, not only did the RSPCA not offer compensation for their mistake, they in fact seemed to still be upset with the animals condition as if the Shelter should be able to perform miracles. 

In the above case, the first surprise visit resulted in 8 animals being taken, based on age related issues and the ability in the RSPCA eyes of whether or not the animals could be re-homed, rather than issues with their health. 

The Shelter in question had a huge success rate and was a no kill shelter, re-homing thousands of animals of all breeds and ages, all vet checked, vaccinated, micro chipped and temperament checked, So these animals were taken from a safe home.

The outcome of my investigations at this early stage confirm the many emails I have received on matters relating to the conduct of the RSPCA as a whole, they have become an organisation overwhelmed by their own power, and now apply guidelines to both the public and the many self funded non kill shelters that disrespect the concept of rehabilitation and genuine health concerns of the animals they are employed to protect. 

MARK ALDRIDGE Community and Animal welfare Advocate, Independent Candidate for the seat of Makin, Experienced local campaigner for the community of the North, Founder of FARM DIRECT Community Markets to retain access to fresh affordable local produce, create jobs and support the local and Australian farming community. Anim pick up the phoneThose that know the truth face the chance of a heart felt dilemma  who do they call if they see an animal suffering abuse or neglect, the RSPCA who may not show, and if they do, knowing the animal has less than a 40% chance of survival in their hands, or should they act on their own and take the animal to a private carer or rescuer?

The very fact this question can be raised is enough to show change is needed.

If the RSPCA were to visit the private homes of most animal owners in Australia, and applied their current procedures and overzealous guidelines, a majority of pets and their living arrangements would no longer pass their scrutiny, which proves that the society is overdue for a complete overhaul and some deserved public scrutiny. 

When I wrote to the RSPCA questioning what is suitable housing for animals in long term care, no reply has yet to be received, and when asked under what legislation or law there orders were made, I was met with the same silence and letters from their lawyers threatening legal action.

I was even asked to police social networks and remove comments that offended them, or I would find myself in court.

The overwhelming issue we face in regards to the protection of the animal Kingdom, is that we need organisations like that of the RSPCA, but lest to say they need to remain both transparent and accountable to the public they are there to serve, and even more so the animals they promise to protect. 

When addressing genuine animals health and protection issues,  the guidelines used must be fair and reasonable to ensure and equitable outcome, not all pet owners are professional trainers, not all animals turn up to rescue shelters in the best of health, and quality of life is not based around being in perfect health, don’t I know that. 

If the RSPCA were to enforce their current ideals in the investigations of a human nursing home, we would be outraged, imagine the elderly being taken away and family enquiries dismissed with the standard “it’s an ongoing investigation” but we had to put a few down based on arthritis or poor eyesight as the reasons given. 

Any animals that barks, shows a defensive attitude or dare cower as a result of past malicious treatment risks euthanasia under the RSPCA’s current guidelines, even worse any animals not housed on concrete would also be a contender for seizure, not bloody good enough.

moorook Brandy girl dog
Any animal that shows the slightest sign of a disability is immediately killed, even those where a non kill shelter has invested thousands in veterinary operations and rehabilitation. 

The dog on the left was rescued from an owner who ran it over, while trying to exercise the dog along side his car, calls from the shelter to the RSPCA were ignored, so they stepped in and rescued the animal, and raised money to cover vet  costs and rehabilitation, this dog was taken from the shelter once in a healthy state by the RSPCA and never seen again.

When and if you decide to support those who care for animals, ensure you put your money in the right pockets. The RSPVA make millions killing animals, smaller non kill shelters have to battle the RSPCA to help animals, with out funding, so if you donate, will it be to grass roots animal lovers, or a well planned corporate image, I will let you decide that.

Mark Aldridge 
Animal activist &
Independent Candidate for Wakefield.

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