|RSPCA Living Ruff staff with the Lord Mayor. Left to right: |
Karen Schlieper, Sandra Ma, Karen Thorne, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Fiona Millhouse
Launched in October 2011, the RSPCA NSW Living Ruff Program is the first of its kind in Australia and is designed to provide assistance to the pets of people affected by homelessness, or who are in imminent danger of homelessness. The program aims to ensure good animal health and wellbeing outcomes, preserve and strengthen human – animal bonds and reduce the number of animals abandoned or surrendered to shelters.
Living Ruff Program initiatives include: emergency boarding and foster care; access to veterinary services; access to pet food; education programs; and outreach services.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said that in many cases the only kind of loving relationship a rough sleeper has is with their pet.
“It is one of the saddest things – a person will refuse to go into a refuge without their pet and sleep in a tunnel or a shop doorway instead,” the Lord Mayor said.
“I’m happy that by donating my Lord Mayoral salary, I can directly help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community.”
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said that pet owners experiencing homelessness – or who are in imminent danger of homelessness – place significant value on the relationship they share with their pets.
“We understand the bond between a pets and their owner is strong, particularly during times of hardship and distress”, said Mr Coleman. “Living Ruff offers services for homeless pets and their owners in the hopes of helping them remain together during this challenging time.”
“The RSPCA is about animal welfare, as well as human welfare,” he said. “We’re extremely grateful for the Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s contribution to helping us continue the work we do through the Living Ruff Program.”
Since launching, the Living Ruff Program has responded to over 80 requests for assistance from people affected by homelessness. With the help of funding received from the Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP Salary Trust, it will be able to offer a range of services to as many as 100 additional clients within the City of Sydney Council area.