RSPCA…WHERE DO YOUR DONATIONS END UP?
"Millions of your donated dollars in many recent RSPCA prosecutions, have resulted in the death of healthy animals and the persecution of a dedicated animal carers, at the expense of genuine rescue and shelter services"
The RSPCA are a private corporation, who market themselves
in such a way that money raised is to rescue animals, well this is what most
Money is raised through a variety of campaigns, the million
paws walk, social media, news reporting and telemarketing campaigns to list
only a few, they also receive money from the sale of goods, insurances and most
recently through using their name to promote animals related produce like
chicken and eggs.
Not all money raised makes it into the RSPCA’s hands,
marketing companies charge for handling some of the process, in some cases
taking up to 80% of the money raised, I bring this up simply as a reminder that
when $$$$ values are mentioned here, for every 1 million they spend, well over
$5 million may have had to be raised to cover that expenditure.
Expenditure covers the RSPCA inspectorate, their shelter
operations and their marketing, so let’s start with their inspectorate, I will
use a recent and ongoing case study “May V RSPCA WA” although there are many
similar cases that paint a similar picture.
Animal cruelty under the legislation in most states is
policed by the RSPCA inspectors, who are given powers under state animal
Most Australians see the RSPCA’s role as one of prosecution
those who abuse animals in a deliberate way, or those who do not look after
their animals, those that dump animals and the like, although the line between
deliberate abuse and animal rescue itself in recent times has blurred quite
The May case is interesting as it is opens up the debate
needed to reform and refine the term “Animal abuse” Mrs May had been rescuing
animals for over a decade, all the local vets knew her, the local council
rangers (with the same powers as the RSPCA inspectors) were regular visitors,
and had never found any reason for concern, all the animals were contained on
her property’s, unable to roam the streets.
The RSPCA WA sent inspectors out to check on Mrs May,
finding one rabbit that had what they thought was an injury, and going on to
seize that rabbit, rather than use other options like an order to have Mrs Mays
vets look at it.
While there the inspectors asked her to clean up around the
place, so Mrs May complied calling ion some friends from the animal welfare
industry to help.
“I will note here what the procedural guidelines recommend,
as I believe WA legislation is one of the better versions in the country” Here
is a graph which covers the issue well.
As you can see by this graph, what ought to have happened if
the Inspectors have any cause for concern was the issue of animal welfare
notices, which could include, cleaning up, presenting animals for vet checks,
lowering animal numbers or improving available enclosures, something I believe
meets community expectations.
Mrs May contacted the RSPCA on several occasions asking
about the health of her Rabbit and asking when it would be returned, with the reply’s
that it was doing well and would be back soon, which seems to be in line with
Approximately 1 week later the RSPCA returned with several
inspectors when Mrs May was not home and seized every animal, approximately 139
animals, mainly cats and rabbits, but also 1 dog, ducks, birds and canary’s, I
note here the warrant used was inappropriate and incorrectly addressed, but for
the purposes of this overview, I shall refrain from going into the legal
aspects of this case in too much detail.
Now at this stage one must wonder why they seized every
animal, obviously being rescued animals, some were not in perfect health, but
veterinary reports clearly show that those with health issues were undergoing
All the animals had shelter, food and water, and may I add,
plenty of room to move compared to the usual shelter environment, they were
receiving the best treatment and their food was top class.
This leaves us to debate living conditions, Mrs May had two
houses, with enclosed rear yards, in the seizure videos, it was clear animals
lived in her home, but the homes was clean and tidy, Mrs May had moved some of
the cats into temporary areas to do some renovations as a result of requests by
the RSPCA on their first visit, but an example would be a single bedroom, with
two cats, food and water and one litter tray, which appeared to anger the
Now Mrs May had complied with all directions, had never
breached any orders, had no previous convictions or even the slightest issues
with the way in which she looked after her animals, so the only grounds for the
seizure appears to be the amount of animals, spread over the 2 homes she owned,
but I can find no legislative provisions for seizing animals for this reason.
“Receipts from local vets showed Mrs may had invested over
$200,000 on treating her rescues over the past decade her own money might I
So let’s pause for a little debate, the RSPCA not only
arrived when Mrs May was not home, she was out having a rescued rabbit treated
at the vet ($400) they attended with the Media, so they were intent on seizing
all of the animals in front of a camera, why? If they had major concerns after
the first visit, where was their urgent warrant, why was there a long delay
before they returned, or more importantly, where were the orders of compliance,
expected under the department of agriculture’s procedural guidelines?
Here is one of the media reports, and some words from it.
"The RSPCA is
currently experiencing a crisis, after an additional 250 sick, injured and
neglected animals have come into RSPCA's Malaga care centre since Christmas
time," RSPCA chief executive David van Ooran said in a statement.
The number of animals
in RSPCA's Malaga facility is expected to reach more than 400 by tonight - 230
This week's raids come
after a December raid on a suburban Perth property which saw more than 130
I wonder how many of you readers, have noticed the point
raised here, if the animals were indeed seized as a result of “the number of
animals Mrs May had” then were taken to the RSPCA shelter in Malaga, the RSPCA
then go onto say they are 230 above capacity, meaning the animals were back in
an over-crowed situation, now I will remind you of the conditions of the
animals, they went from two cats to a single bedroom sized enclosure, to two
animals to a crate.
Mrs May and her Vets, both contacted the RSPCA with grave concerns
for the sick animals, offering up their medications, Mrs Mays vets offered to
attend the RSPCA shelter to help identify which ones were sick and their
ongoing treatment regime, the RSPCA refused.
I will note here that the RSPCA shelter records obtained
under FOI, show some of these animals waited months for checks ups, resulting in
many dying or being put down, the most recent vet checks indicate many if not
all the animals became sick in custody.
Mrs May until this day has never given up on trying to get
her animals back, she applied to the State administration tribunal for the
return of her animals, demanding to see them, it was here she started finding
out they were slowly being killed off, the Justice then reminded the RSPCA they
had to return the animals, because they had not pressed any kind of charges
against Mrs May (The legislation requires the animals to be returned if no
charges are laid within 4 months).
The RSPCA did not appear to be able to comply, as they could
not return all her animals, so they raced off to the magistrates court and
filed charges of animal credulity against Mrs May, 139 charges.
The charges laid were
invalid at law, and ended up being dropped some 12 months later, the animals
were never returned, as of December 2014, only 42 were left in any condition to
be released, of these up to 20 may not have even been Mrs Mays, and the RSPCA
chief inspector at the time, could not even guarantee any would make it out
alive, even though Mrs May had many shelters backing her up and willing to take
them if the RSPCA would not comply and return them to their rightful owner.
I will also note here
that the RSPCA during the first 14 months of this case were seeking nearly
$50,000 per month from Mrs May for the upkeep of the animals, plus veterinary
and legal costs, amounting to near 1 million dollars in damages, something that
again does not meet the procedural guidelines or community expectations.
Even if one was to take the position of labeling Mrs may a
hoarder, which has not proven to be the case, one would not have expected the
RSPCA’s actions to be appropriate if they indeed had concerns of mental
The CEO of the Department of Agriculture knew all of these
was happening, documents obtained under freedom of information applications,
clearly showed the Inspectors were under investigation, that the charges laid
were being questioned, as were the murder of healthy animasl, in fact all the
issues listed above were being questioned by the man who awarded the RSPCA
inspectors their powers, this was back in March 2013 a few months after the
I shall add one of the
pages to confirm my statements (Hundreds of pages of evidence is available to
support this blog)
So lets get back to “Where do your donations end up” and
what do they achieve.
In the May case, of the 139 animals seized, on what could be
considered inadequate grounds ( I will let you judge that point for yourselves)
none may ever make it out of their shelter alive, the RSPCA have spent around
$1.6 million plus on this case, Mrs May had her savings devastated and had to
borrow a further $200,000 at 73 years of age, which will result in her losing
her home, to try and fight for the release of her animals, even if that release
was into the care of no kill shelters that had their hands up to take them.
Mrs May will at this stage (1/1/15) face no
charges of animal cruelty, is under a contract to remain silent, as are most of
the RSPCA staff that resigned or were sacked over this case, or for questioning
the RSPCA CEO, not exactly what I would have thought would be an outcome that
meets the community’s expectations, especially in relation to the spending of
public donations, what are your thoughts so far?
The RSPCA also apparently took on a legal battle with DAFWA
(the department of agriculture) ion an attempt to stop successful Freedom of
Information applications, to ensure they could continue to control their public
image, by withholding information their donors rightfully deserve to know.
The information used
to over view this case, includes FOI statements, my attendance in the courts,
whistle blowers from within the RSPCA including the ex-Chief inspector, general
inspectors, vets, the RSPCA vets, the in house RSPCA past prosecutor, past
board members and many others, who to this day we cannot find a media source or
government department for them to come forward to about this and many others
issues with in the RSPCA upper management.
Millions of your
donations resulted in the death of rescued animals, and the persecution of a
dedicated animal carer, and the waste of government and judicial services.
If the RSPCA in WA
had adhered to the law and the prosecution and procedural guidelines we only
find in place in WA, Mrs May would have received support and direction, she
could have continued to use here time and savings to rescue animals in an
agreeable manner for all parties. The RSPCA would not have ended up over
capacity, allowing them to take in more needy animals, and millions of dollars
of YOUR donations would have been better spent.
“It has become a regular process to find tens of thousands of dollars
being spent on prosecutions where support services and education would have a far
better outcome for the animals, their carers and the hard earned resources
available to animal welfare.”
** Intention is the much over looked action here and in animal welfare
legislation, there is a huge difference between those who deliberately abuse or
ignore the needs of animals, and those who
love and care for them but may not be able to achieve the higher quality of services
available to the RSPCA who have million dollar bank accounts and top class
The problem here, is no lessons were learned, because there
was no accountability, no final court scrutiny and no public debate on the
case, like most if not all actions with in the RSPCA, due to a trend to use
their powers to silence the truth rather than use it to learn from.
look at how much the RSPCA spend on administration and running their shelters
and their success rates in animal rescue.
It is here the truth also gets a good slice of professional
spin from their very apt marketing and legal team, and what would we expect
when we look at their board members, because rather than a selection of names
from the animal rescue community, we find marketing experts, lawyers, CEO’s of local government, company directors, community relations
experts, advertising experts, even petroleum companies executives and the
Banking and finance industries, it is rare to find members with any experience
in actual animal welfare or rescue.
When I did an investigation into re-homing facts and figures
I was terrified to find that even their general posted facts and figure that
include return to owner, that many branches had a kill rate as high as 50% for
dogs and 70% for cats.
“The inclusion of
return to owner in their facts and figures does not allow the true facts to
come out, it is what happens to animals left in the RSPCA’s care that is most
important to animal lovers, and this ought to include those killed in their
pounds before transfers, and those that are killed elsewhere, one could come to
the conclusion that the truth may bring more support by way of donations and
Making matters worse was the reasons used for euthanasia,
with behavioural issues leading the score card at between 65 and 70% and excuse
also applied to new born kittens for instance, when one digs deeper, it is not
unusual to find an outsourcing of killing, from selective use of pounds to the
sending animals to other places to be put down, sections labelled other or transferred
in their facts and figures are still yet to be explained.
If people are to donate their hard earned savings to a high
profile charity, community expectations would be towards transparency rather
than secrecy and censorship that have found its place within the society over
the past decade.
Their income and expenditure is divided into 4 sections,
inspectorate and rescue, fundraising legacies and marketing, animal operations
and corporate administrations.
Over the past few years, the RSPCA balance sheets in most
states show a sharp decline in profits, with many states posting huge losses;
internal leaked documents expose moves to cut down on the services they provide
like shelter operations, prosecutions and rescue initiatives, rather than
administrations costs to cover sharp increases in wages, bonuses, silence
payments and administration fee’s.
Animal operations now only receives around 40% of yearly
expenditure, increases in re-homing being
bragged in recent years has been the direct result of the improved identity of
lost animals, enabling more to be returned to owners, rather than any increase
in the society’s ability to re-home abandoned animals.
Over the past 18 months, I have had so many RSPCA staff,
volunteers and inspectors come to me for support, in the hope that their voices
could drive change in the society they once loved and cherished, one must
question what is going on with in the society, that was once an organisation
dedicated to the protection of animals, which now appears to have been taken
over and become a powerful corporation holding the mighty dollar and their
awarded powers above the genuine welfare of animals, I have several articles
that break down their financials and include the documents that will enable you
the reader to come to your own conclusions.
The way forward from my investigation, is a step by step process,
starting with handing back powers of prosecution to the government and state
solicitors office to handle, to both remove any conflict of interests and abuse
of process issues. A full government enquiry into censorship and financial
issues within the society, and to set ground rules of an equitable nature in
relation to the publishing of their facts and figures. A nation-wide set of procedural and prosecution
guidelines to ensure due process, to be overseen by an independent body, and
finally to ensure their boards have a balanced range of members in relation to
the inclusion of members with genuine experience in animal welfare and rescue.
Animal welfare advocate