Each year tens of thousands of pet cats and dogs are killed in Australia and a lot of the time they are perfectly healthy.
The RSPCA alone euthanised more than 56,000 cats and dogs in the 2011-2012 financial year. In 2011, 52% of dogs and 65% of cats received by the RSPCA were euthanised rather than re-homed. You can view the latest RSPCA National Statistics here.
PetRescue, an online service which lists stray and abandoned animals for re-homing have come up with a ‘No Kill Equation’ which consists of eleven steps to ensure no animals are unnecessarily killed in shelters.
- Aggressive de-sexing programs targeting unowned cats and a commitment to keeping untamed cats out of pounds.
- Free and low cost de-sexing targeted specifically to animals who would otherwise not be de-sexed.
- Pounds and shelters releasing pets to rescue groups.
- Developing an internal foster care network (especially for unweaned kittens).
- Comprehensive adoption programs (including off-site, online and events).
- Assistance veterinary and training programs which help needy owners keep their pets.
- Medical and behavioural rehabilitation and a healthy shelter environment.
- Public relations and community outreach – building a positive relationship with the community (no more ‘public bashing’).
- Volunteer programs (to help keep the shelter population healthy, friendly and to help with training programs).
- Proactive redemptions (including putting lost pets on the internet and using volunteer ‘pet detectives’ to reunite pet and owner).
- And probably most important – a compassionate shelter Director who takes killing off the table as a tool for managing intakes.
SBS Insight recently aired a program to try to shed some light on why Australia is euthanising so many dogs and cats. You can view it online here.