March 31, 2010

A walk at the RSPCA ACT shelter: Pet Adoption Centre and Store

Being the front door of the shelter, the Pet Adoption Centre is where the action is. From incoming calls to strays and adoptions, staff at PAC (as we like to call it) juggle with a wide variety of tasks. 

Today, for example, a man came to the shelter to reclaim Romeo, his papillon-cross dog. Romeo was dropped at the shelter last night after escaping from his yard. Because he had a microchip, staff were able to locate his owner easily and reunite them. These happy reunions, says Pet Adoption Centre supervisor Reeni, are one of the reasons she likes working at the centre.

Other success stories that all staff seem to enjoy involve older animals, or long-term residents going home to a new forever home. “We love to know the animal goes to a good home,” says Reeni.

As well as building relationships with customers, staff also play an education role. Whether it be by giving advice on pets or telling people of the importance of desexing and microchipping, staff like to remind people of responsible ownership of pets.  “A pet is a life-time commitment,” says Reeni.

The Pet Adoption Centre is also home to the store, where products such as pet food and toys are for sale. Of course, being an animal welfare organisation, products are chosen with care and this why we do not carry things like choker chains, which can hurt dogs.

Did you know you can call the RSPCA ACT for advices on pets? Did you know the RSPCA ACT has an online store?

Good Friday - 2 April - CLOSED
Easter Saturday - 3 April - OPEN 9am to 4pm
Easter Sunday - 4 April - OPEN 9am to 4pm
Easter Monday - 5 April - CLOSED

Next visit: The Veterinary Clinic

March 29, 2010

A walk at the RSPCA ACT shelter: Cattery

Entering the main cattery building, the first thing that catches your attention is the high number of cats currently available for adoption. “Too many cats, too many kittens,” says adoption assistant Maria when asked how many cats there are.

In the cattery, cats are everywhere. On a sunny day like today, kittens are out playing together and older cats chill out in cat enclosures. Inside, those needing a quieter environment can rest peacefully.

While the breeding season is practically over in the ACT, the shelter is still caring for many cats. In fact, more than 30 kittens and 60 cats are ready to be matched with new families.

In addition to those, another 60 kittens are waiting to be de-sexed or recovering from the cat flu, while many more are with foster families.

The foster program plays an important role at the RSPCA ACT. From as young as four weeks, some kittens are fostered by families who help them socialise. During our busiest months when space is an issue, the foster program allows us to take on and care for more kittens.

Each season, an average of 1500 cats are taken care of by the RSPCA ACT.

The cattery staff are also responsible for rabbits. At the moment, there are 28 rabbits on site and just last week, four babies were born.
Did you know you can adopt a rabbit from the RSPCA ACT?
What do you think of the high number of cats currently available for adoption?
Did you know you can help by becoming a volunteer or a foster family?

Next visit: Pet Adoption Centre and store
When: Next week

March 17, 2010

A walk at the RSPCA ACT shelter: Wildlife

As Canberra’s only licensed carer, the Wildlife centre at the RSPCA ACT is a busy place to be. Here, staff are working seven days a week to ensure injured, sick or orphaned native animals are being taken care of.

Right now, more than 200 animals are in care. From reptiles and birds to bigger mammals such as wombats and possums, “we take whatever turns up,” says Wildlife manager Natasha Ackland. Some animals require surgery and intensive care, while others only need a non-stressful environment to recover before being released back to the wild.

Road trauma or poisoning are two frequent reasons for native animals to be treated at the centre. But depending of the season, wildlife staff also face additional challenges. This autumn, a high number of bats have already been treated for injuries caused by fruit nets, and staff are expecting that many more will require help before the winter.

In total, the RSPCA ACT assists 3,500 native animals each year.

Do you have any questions regarding the wildlife centre?  What is your favourite native animal?

Next tour: The Cattery
When: Next week

Check out this video on bats in Canberra

March 10, 2010

A walk at the RSPCA ACT shelter: the Kennels

There is a lot going on at the RSPCA ACT shelter. If you’ve never visited us, here is your chance. Follow the words each week as I take you around parts of our shelter.

First stop - the kennels 

This is where we keep dogs and puppies that are available for adoption and those who have just arrived at the shelter for various reasons. As part of their routine, staff and volunteers clean kennels, feed dogs and provide them with adequate exercise.  When a newcomer arrives, a few extra steps - such as a visit to the veterinary clinic and a behavioural assessment - are followed to ensure the pet is healthy and ready to be rehomed.

Contrary to common belief, dogs at the RSPCA ACT shelter are not all here because of behavioural problems. Reasons for them being available for adoption include, owners moving overseas, owners having financial hardship, elderly owners not having enough mobility to care for their pets, or they simply got lost and have never found their way home.

In fact, you will find that most of the dogs available for adoption are loving companion animals waiting to be matched with the ‘right’ person or family. The RSPCA ACT shelter has a no-kill policy, so as long as dogs are healthy and behaviourally sound, they will stay with us until they find a new home.

Next tour: the Wildlife Clinic
When: Next week

Have you ever visited the RSPCA ACT shelter?

March 2, 2010

A Strong Voice for Animal Welfare

While dog and cat welfare remains a core issue for RSPCA and the animal welfare movement, our cause has always been grounded on a broader concern for protecting all animals from cruelty. 
The humane movement is built around a concern for any mistreatment and abuse of any animal—whether domesticated or wild or by individuals or institutions. Increasingly, there has been a more careful assessment of the treatment of production animals. RSPCA has for many years looked at ways of improving farming practices including live transport, live export, battery cages, sow stalls and the myriad of welfare issues these practices carry. 
RSPCA continues to investigate and expose inhumane practices across the nation and the awful mistreatment of animals. There have also been pointed criticisms focused on the lifelong confinement of certain farm animals—such as breeding sows and laying hens—in cages and crates barely larger than their bodies. Whether you are a devoted carnivore or a committed vegetarian, these inhumane production practices should be a concern to every humane advocate.
Whereas in the ACT we have limited exposure to intensive farming practices we have a role to play. To ensure you, our supporter is kept informed I have included some key reference points for you which will allow you to be kept informed about the work RSPCA is doing at a national and international level.
In 2010 other areas that we will be focusing on locally include the ongoing issue of intensive breeding of puppies for sale through pet shops and classified advertising. We have recently undertaken a study of newspaper advertising through the Canberra Times. The results are alarming and we have since raised our concerns with the Chief Minister.
Wildlife continues to be a core area. We will continue to educate the community about how we can better live in harmony with our unique fauna and we will further enhance our caring services to better cope with the ever increasing volume of native animals requiring our care.