Along with thousands of rescue groups, animal lovers and animal welfare organisations nationwide, the RSPCA believes the number of companion animals killed each year in Australia is appauling. While the RSPCA does not classify itself as a no kill organisation, the not-for-profit animal welfare charity proactively, willingly and responsibly does its part to help ensure the number of unwanted companional animals being euthanased every year is reduced.
The RSPCA’s annual euthanasia statistics may appear high, but at closer glance the figures are quite telling. Of the 4,862 dogs euthanased by RSPCA NSW last financial year, 62% were put down due to behavioural reasons; nearly 35% were humanely euthanased due to disease and other medical conditions.
“Because of our open door policy, we take in animals that are sick, injured, abused, neglected and unwanted,” said RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman. “A large majority of these animals are deemed dangerous or downright cruel to be kept alive. As a result, our staff make difficult decisons to euthanase animals on a daily basis.”
“We don’t take euthanasia lightly, and we don’t kill healthy animals uneccesarily. Regardless, the RSPCA reluctantly accepts that — in certain circumstances — euthanasia is necessary. It would be unethical and socially irresponsible to rehome many of the animals that come through our doors.”
Even still, the RSPCA continues to improve, invest and innovate in order to increase rehoming and reduce euthanasia statistics.
“Last year, RSPCA NSW euthanased less than 2% of dogs and less than 6% of cats due to space limitations. While these figures continue to decrease year on year, there’s certainly still room for improvement,” said Mr Coleman.
Mr Coleman said the RSPCA continually invests in improving behaviour assessments, which are based on scientific backing and internationally accepted approaches. “We observe animals over time — some are put into foster care programs, while others are put under rehabilitation to assist with behavioural issues.”
In addition, the RSPCA has a robust volunteer network, dog training and rehabilitation programs, working relationships with rescue groups, government bodies, partnerships with Petbarn, Care Centres, marketing to promote animals, statewide animal transportation initiatives, subsidised and reduced-rate desexing and microhipping drives, community events and education programs in schools. All have been established with the overarching goal of rehoming more animals, reducing the number of unwanted companion animals and decreasing euthanasia rates.
“The RSPCA follows a realistic and holistic approach to reducing euthanasia figures. But we can’t do it alone — we need the community’s support and cooperation to make a difference."