Dear Beagle Editor
I was surprised and saddened to learn that the RSPCA is planning to close its shelter at Nowra.
I understand the reasons given are that the organisation wants to concentrate on “educating and working with communities” to improve animal welfare outcomes. That’s a worthy aim, but, to my mind, it doesn’t justify closing facilities where people can surrender their animals when they have no other option.
RSPCA is saying that the Nowra Shelter, which operates in conjunction with the Shoalhaven Council pound, is given over largely to stray cats and dogs, and that these “aren’t our business”. Well, whose business are they? Local councils have some legal responsibilities for dealing with stray dogs, but not cats. As extraordinary as it sounds, two cats, over two years, in suitable conditions, can become 20,000 cats. The RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League do a good job in encouraging and helping people to desex their pets. They also work hard at rehoming surrendered animals. However, to imagine that a regional shelter can be closed, with no impact on animals, is utopian nonsense. People wanting to surrender animals will have to travel to shelter at Wollongong, or Canberra, to do so, or hope that the local branch, made up of a few hardworking volunteers, can help.
When people think of the RSPCA, they envisage an organisation dedicated to the care of all animals, surrendered, homeless, injured, abused, neglected – the lot. They don’t expect nitpicking, which is what this sounds like to me.
I understand that to run a shelter costs a great deal of money. Perhaps it’s time that governments made animal welfare a higher priority, and gave the RSPCA more than the current miserly two percent of its annual expenditure. And perhaps we all have to dig a little deeper to contribute to the sort of world we would like to see for our animal companions.
For the immediate future, however, I would encourage others who are as outraged as I am about this decision by RSPCA NSW, to contact the Chief Executive, Steve Coleman, and let him know that Eurobodalla residents are not at all happy.