Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dogs and decibels don't mix!

Simple steps to keep pets safe during fireworks

RSPCA NSW is reminding animal owners to keep their pets safe during New Year’s Eve fireworks tomorrow night.

On average, fireworks explode at a staggering 145-150 decibels. But for animals such as dogs, who have hearing ten times as sensitive as humans, these explosions can be terrifying and distressing.

Many animals fear fireworks and they often injure themselves trying to escape the noise. In a frantic bid to flee, dogs can jump or dig under fences finding their way onto dangerous and busy roads. The RSPCA urges pet owners to ensure their pet has a microchip and an ID tag and that their details are updated.

If possible, stay home with your pet and provide them with a comfortable environment and keep them engaged.  If you can’t be home, make sure your pets are safe, secure and comfortable; bring them indoors if possible.

RSPCA NSW has six simple steps to minimise fireworks stress in pets:
  • Ensure your pets are exercised and well-fed before fireworks start.
  • Keep your animals indoors where they are safe and comfortable.
  • Leave the TV or radio on to mask the sound of fireworks.
  • Remove any nearby objects that might cause injury to a panicking animal.
  • If your pet is particularly prone to fireworks panic, stay home with them.
  • For some animals a visit to the vet is required before the fireworks season begins as there are medications that can help.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tips to keep your pets safe this New Year's Eve!

New Year celebrations can be scary for your pets!

Across Australia, many people are getting ready for New Year celebrations, and often these celebrations will include firework displays.

Unfortunately, many animals are terrified by firework displays which can indirectly pose risks to animal safety by causing them to take flight and try to escape the loud noises. Dogs and horses in particular may be afraid of fireworks and many try to run away, sometimes injuring themselves in the process.

What can I do for my dog?
  • Prepare early. Talk to your vet about the treatment options available for managing noise phobias – ask them about any new treatment options.
  • Take your dog out for exercise before the fireworks start e.g. reasonably long walk, then after a couple of hours you can feed a meal. A tired and well-fed dog may be less anxious during the night. If you can, stay home to be with your pet.
  • Let your dog be with you and try to be calm and normal. Avoid fussing over your pet excessively but try to engage them in normal activities such as playing. Reward your dog for their calm behaviour, rewards include giving them treats and giving them their favourite dog toy.
  • Close the blinds/curtains, create a comfortable hiding place and allow your dog to go to there to feel safe, put on some music or the TV to help mask the noise outside, and distract your dog with games and food.
  • Dogs who panic can choke themselves on a collar or lead, so never tether your dog during these times and never use a choke chain to restrain your dog.
  • Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and that your contact details are up to date on the microchip register. Also ensure they are wearing an ID tag so they can be easily returned if they accidentally escape.
  • Direct supervision is important to help prevent injury or escape. If you cannot supervise your dog on the night consider making alternative arrangements so your dog will be supervised by a responsible person directly or consider boarding your dog so they will be safe.

What about cats, rabbits and other pets?

Cats should be kept indoors during fireworks displays. Most cats will find somewhere safe to hide and will usually venture out when the noise stops. Make sure you cat is microchipped and your details are up to date on the microchip register in case they wander and become lost. 
Rabbits and other small animals like guinea pigs should be safely housed during the fireworks display.

Horses are particularly vulnerable to bolting when exposed to fireworks. If possible they should be securely stabled, or removed to a different location away from the fireworks display, and the risk of physical harm minimised. Remove any sharp objects that might injure a panicking animal, cover stable windows to hide the sight of the fireworks and dim the noise, and make sure you supply plenty of food and water.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Festive Foods: NOT Pet Friendly!

RSPCA reminds pet owners of the dangers of festive treats

With Christmas just around the corner, RSPCA NSW is reminding pet owners the perils of festive foods for animals, with common Christmas foods among some of the most dangerous for pets to consume.

“Pet owners could find themselves spending Christmas at an veterinary emergency hospital if their animal overindulges or is exposed to some festive foods,” said RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Dr Magdoline Awad.  “Don’t share human food and drinks with your pets at Christmas, as what may not affect you, may be toxic to your pet,” Dr Awad added.
Festive foods to avoid feeding your pets include:
  • Pork/ham —can cause pancreatitis, intense pain and shock
  • Chocolate —can cause vomiting, diarrhoea  and seizures in dogs
  • Macadamia nuts — can cause severe abdominal pain, increased heart rate and inability to walk
  • Fruit cake — for dogs, raisins, currants and grapes are toxic to the kidneys and can make them lethargic, and cause vomiting and increased thirst. Fruit cakes often contain alcohol which can also be toxic
  • Alcohol — can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing and even coma and/or death in pets
  • Onions —can cause red blood cells to burst, leading to anaemia
  • Avocado —can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and heart congestion in dogs
  • Coffee — can be fatal to dogs, causing vomiting and seizures
  • Paracetamol — can be fatal to pets, especially cats
  • Xylitol — this is a common ingredient in sugarless gum and  is poisonous to dogs and can cause weakness, lethargy, vomiting, seizures and liver failure  Handbag contents can be a big danger for pets as many contain sugarless gum and pain medication. All recreational drugs should also be kept out of reach of pets.
Keep your pet safe this Christmas by keeping festive foods out of reach, and provide pet-friendly treats instead.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Start a conversation this Christmas

Visit our Shop Humane blog for great food tips

With Christmas fast approaching, many Australians will get together with family and friends to enjoy a Christmas feast. Being passionate about food and knowing where it comes from is an important part of appreciating the food on our plates. Be sure higher welfare meat and eggs are an option on this year’s menu.

Have to something to say this Christmas with our Christmas Conversation Starters, and learn how you and your family can have a happily humane Christmas.

Visit our Shop Humane blog or download our conversation starter kit.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WANTED: Guardian Angels

RSPCA Guardian Angels help give shelter animals a Merry Christmas

RSPCA NSW is bracing for the seemingly inevitable spike in animal numbers this holiday season, with around 13,000 new animals set to call RSPCA shelters home.

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman says the numbers are astounding, “last year, another 5,700 cats were added to the 720 already in the RSPCA’s care and room was found for 3,110 dogs as well as the 665 already in shelters across the state”.

Each of these animals come with their own story of neglect, cruelty or abandonment but all need shelter, care, rehabilitation and love.

One of the many animals that came into the RSPCA’s care was Ollie. He came in as a stray puppy with a severe skin condition that left him hairless and covered in raw, red welts.  After five months of intensive treatment, he became a different dog: his red, angry skin replaced by a shiny blue staffy coat, and everyone was so excited when Ollie was adopted by a loving family committed to his ongoing care.

“Ollie’s transformation was amazing,” said Mr Coleman. “He responded to treatment so well, and was virtually unrecognisable.”

“Ollie’s story wouldn’t be possible, without the ongoing and generous support of the community. It costs RSPCA NSW $43.3M a year to operate, with less than 1% coming from the state government.” said Mr Coleman.

This year, around 13,000 homeless animals will spend their Christmas at RSPCA Shelters. To help continue to help the animals, please become an RSPCA Guardian Angel this Christmas: https://rspcaguardianangel.com.au

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

School holidays: All about the animals

RSPCA NSW School Holiday Program ramps up for summer 

RSPCA NSW is gearing up for another exciting school holiday program, with 20 action packed days in January.

Kids and young adults aged between eight and 17 are welcome to come and spend either half or whole days at the Sydney or Hunter Shelter this January.

There are five exciting hands-on sessions to discover:
  • Animal Care: Tips on responsible pet ownership and help care for animals at the RSPCA Shelter.
  • Animal Health: Meet RSPCA Veterinarians and learn how to keep animals healthy. The children will scrub up for surgery as they venture behind the scenes in the vet clinic.
  • Animal Enrichment: Learn the tips and tricks from RSPCA Animal Attendants on how to keep animals mentally stimulated by creating treats and toys for the shelter animals.
  • Animal Careers: Meet several experts including Animal Attendant, Inspector, Pet Trainer, Veterinarian and Vet Nurse and engage in a hands-on activity to see what each role entails.
  • Animal Rescue: Meet the RSPCA Inspectors, who dedicate their time to rescuing animals in need. Get into the ‘Inspectors Only’ area at the Shelter and have a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the amazing gadgets they use to save different types of animals.

“Every child walks away with a smile on their face, and I do too,” said RSPCA NSW Education Officer Eva Wong.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Puppy farmer banned from owning animals, fined for animal cruelty

A man has appeared in Coffs Harbour Local Court on 5 December 2014 and pleaded guilty to seven charges of animal cruelty against four horses and 37 dogs in his care.

Three separate matters were heard simultaneously, including one which saw three litters of puppies immediately seized by RSPCA Inspectors.

The 11 pups were found huddled on wet concrete floors with no food, bedding, access to water or natural light. All were suffering health problems.

The two other matters related to four horses, resulting in charges of failing to provide enough food and not providing vet treatment.

  • Fail to provide veterinary treatment for parasites and poor body condition for a male Border Collie dog (one charge)
  • Fail to provide proper and sufficient food to a Grey Mare and Palomino Mare (one charge)
  • Fail to provide veterinary treatment for parasites in four horses (one charge)
  • Fail to provide veterinary treatment to 22 dogs (one charge)
  • Fail to provide veterinary treatment for flea infestation in 37 dogs, internal parasites in six dogs and ticks found on two puppies (one charge)
  • Fail to provide veterinary treatment for internal parasites in 11 dogs and one dog’s injured tail (one charge)

Key Facts 
Matter #1
RSPCA Inspectors and NSW Police attended the man’s property on 19 February 2014, over ongoing animal welfare issues with dogs and horses at the property.
RSPCA Inspectors told the man they would be examining his animals’ health and welfare, after he failed to comply with previous written directions.
Inspectors saw numerous horses in poor body condition around the property. Three horses and two foals were examined by the District Veterinarian, who found the animals to be in very poor body condition.
Two emaciated mares and their foals were seized by RSPCA Inspectors and taken to a private holding facility for further examination and rehabilitation. Further tests showed the mares had massive parasite burden.
The veterinarian again examined the horses on 3 April 2014, and noted they had shown a marked improvement in body condition. The vet stated there was a failure to provide adequate nutrition and parasite control at the property in all examined animals.
Matter #2
On 20 February 2014, RSPCA Inspectors again visited the property along with an RSPCA Veterinarian. Together, they captured and examined 37 dogs housed at the property. The vet noted at least 23 dogs were in poor condition and that all of the dogs were suffering from a heavy flea burden.
Inspectors seized 12 dogs due to serious medical issues and took them to the RSPCA Coffs Harbour Shelter for further examination and treatments.
The veterinarian found there was a failure to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary treatment for medical problems in at least 23 of the dogs examined.

Matter #3
On 30 July 2014, RSPCA Inspectors and NSW Police again attended the same property over ongoing animal welfare issues concerning dogs.
The man was told by Inspectors there had been reports of ongoing indiscriminate breeding of puppies and failure to provide veterinary care to sick animals. He was uncooperative and refused to answer the RSPCA Inspector’s questions.
Inspectors then found two terrier crossbreed puppies huddled in a corner of a tractor shed. They were on cold, wet concrete with no food, water, bedding or natural light. One of the pups had an injured tail, with a piece of bone apparently visible. Both puppies were bloated, indicating worm burden. They also had extreme flea infestations and appeared anaemic upon examination. Both pups were immediately seized by RSPCA Inspectors.
In an old dairy shed, five Border Collie crossbreed pups were found locked in a small room with no natural light, living under a disused milk vat on cold wet concrete. These puppies had no food, water or bedding and had large infestations of fleas and ticks. The pups were bloated and wormy with dull coats. These puppies were also seized by Inspectors.
Police and RSPCA officers then located a third litter of four Border Collie crossbreed puppies at the back of the house. These four pups also appeared wormy, with bloated stomachs and dull coats, they also had flea and tick infestations. They were also seized by RSPCA Inspectors.
The 11 puppies were taken to a local veterinary clinic. The vet noted the pup with the injured tail needed antibiotics and ongoing care. All 11 puppies were found to have a flea and tick burden.
Lab results confirmed all puppies had large internal parasite burdens which contributed to their poor health.

  • Costs: $21,313.39
  • Ordered to surrender all companion animals with the exception of two desexed dogs
  • Prohibited from owning more than two desexed dogs or other animals for five years
  • 18 month good behaviour bond

Thursday, December 11, 2014

RSPCA NSW and Wally's Piggery: The Reality

Footage published by Animals Australia, Animal Liberation NSW & Animal Liberation ACT

The footage shared by the above organisations is disgraceful and disturbing and was rightly condemned as such by the RSPCA NSW at the time it was first published in 2012.

Contact details and statements not provided 

That is why the RSPCA NSW sought from Animal Liberation NSW statements and/or the names and contact details of those who took the footage so that the footage could be used as the basis for a prosecution.  Animal Liberation NSW declined to provide this information when requested. This is confirmed by a statement on aussiepigs.com/campaign as follows:
"The RSPCA asked Animal Liberation to provide names and contact details of the activists involved in obtaining the evidence. However, advice from lawyers was that whether or not this information was provided to the RSPCA, it was highly unlikely that the illegally-gathered evidence could be used in court, and that it would put the activists in great danger from Wally and other pig farmers, and of course might lead to prosecution against them rather than the farmers."
Footage unable to be used in Court

Without witnesses and statements to authenticate the footage and when it was taken, the footage and images were not admissible in Court and could not be used as the basis for further investigation and prosecution. The RSPCA NSW’s hands were tied in taking the cruelty that appears to be depicted to Court as a result.

The RSPCA NSW Prosecution 

RSPCA NSW made a decision on 17 November 2014 to withdraw its prosecution against WSL Investments Pty Ltd, Wally Perenc and Stefanie Perenc (commonly referred to as Wally’s Piggery).

There appears to be confusion that the case at Yass Local Court related to the widely circulated footage. This is not correct as addressed above.

The RSPCA NSW’s case relied on the observations of inspectors, other agencies and was necessarily underpinned by examinations of an expert veterinarian, when they attended the premises in August 2012, and not the widely distributed video footage.

The RSPCA NSW carefully considered the prosecution evidence before the proceedings commenced and based its intended case on the admissible evidence then available.  Although 53 charges were before the Court, there were 11 primary charges with the balance being back up or alternative charges.

The decision taken by the RSPCA NSW to withdraw the prosecution was made in accordance with its duties, which, relevantly are consistent with the duties contained in the Prosecution Guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Legal advice from an independent Barrister (who was briefed to appear for the RSPCA NSW) advised that, in the circumstances, it was appropriate to withdraw the charges.

Like all responsible prosecuting agencies, the RSPCA NSW approaches all investigations and prosecutions with rigour where offences have reasonable prospects of success.

RSPCA NSW implores any person who witnesses or obtains evidence of animal cruelty to report it to the relevant authority immediately.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dykes on Bikes give Christmas cheer to animals in need.

 RSPCA NSW were the lucky recipient of the Dykes on Bikes Christmas Toy Run.

RSPCA NSW would like to bestow a huge thanks to Dykes on Bikes who made a very special trip to our Sydney Shelter over the weekend. A convey of 12 bikes delivered over $1,000 worth of toys and treats for the shelter animals – Gifts which will benefit our shelter animals who may not have a home this Christmas.

The gifts provided by Dykes on Bikes will go towards improving the experience our shelter animals will have at the shelter, whilst they wait to be adopted into their new homes.

Sandra Ma, Community Programs Supervisor for the RSPCA, stated “The generous donations make a huge difference. The RSPCA reaches out to those in need in a number of ways throughout the year, but at Christmas time pet care packs are one of the things gratefully received”

Dykes on Bikes President Manda Hatter was also impressed by the level of support their toy run received  Animal welfare is close to our hearts and I was really impressed to see just how much we collected as a group. “

Christmas is a particular time of need for the RSPCA and each year, thousands of animals turn to the RSPCA for help during the festive season.  To find out how you could help an animal in need this Christmas, please click here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dykes on Bikes go full-throttle delivering Christmas toys to RSPCA

Not quite Santa, but just as welcome!

RSPCA NSW is proud to welcome Dykes on Bikes to the Sydney Shelter this Saturday as part of their annual Christmas toy run.

Dozens of bikes are expected to rumble their way to Sydney’s biggest animal shelter, with sacks of toys and treats for the dogs and cats in need this Christmas.
The haul is destined for those doing it tough this time of year and who are part of RSPCA NSW’s Community Outreach Programs.

Community Programs Supervisor Sandra Ma said the generous donations make a huge difference. “The RSPCA reaches out to those in need  in a number of ways throughout the year, but at Christmas time pet care packs are one of the things gratefully received,” she explained. “These packs include a number of things that some just can’t afford like pet food, toys, and flea and worming treatment.”

“The treats and toys the Dykes on Bikes crew are bringing will give so many of these people and pets the support throughout the Christmas period and for the New Year to come,” Ms Ma concluded.

WHAT: Dykes on Bikes Christmas Toy Run

WHEN: 11am Saturday 6th December, 2014

WHERE: RSPCA NSW Sydney Shelter, 201 Rookwood Road, Yagoona

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Storms see strays flood RSPCA Shelters

As a number of severe storms are set to strike the Sydney region, RSPCA NSW is urging pet owners to be mindful of their pets’ wellbeing.

The RSPCA Sydney Shelter has seen a spike in concerned citizens bringing in lost and stray dogs. Many of these animals have been spooked by the recent bad weather and have escaped their backyards.

Ensuring that your dog is microchipped and that your contact details are current is vital to help guarantee the safe return of your animal. 

RSPCA NSW is advising pet owners to follow the advice below:
  • If you know a storm is coming, ensure your pets are exercised and well-fed before it starts.
  • Keep your animals indoors in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Securely stable horses.
  • Leave the TV or radio on to mask the sound of thunder.
  • Wherever your pet may be, remove any sharp objects that might cause injury to a panicking animal.
  • If your pet is particularly prone to storm panic, stay at home with them or speak with your vet about additional ways to manage their storm anxiety.
If you find a lost animal and feel comfortable approaching and handling it, take it to your local vet.
If the animal is especially scared or seems aggressive, call the RSPCA or your local police.

For more information on how you can help your pet during storms click here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Adopt meow! Discounted kitten adoptions at the RSPCA Broken Hill Shelter

With kitten season in full swing, the RSPCA NSW Broken Hill Shelter is offering discount adoptions after an influx of felines through the shelter doors.

From today until Saturday, 6th December all cats and kittens will cost $25 to adopt.

Anyone looking for a new addition to their family is urged to visit the shelter to find their purrrr-fect companion. Included in the adoption price is a full vet check, worming, desexing, microchipping and vaccinations.

“The cats we have at the shelter are simply adorable and delightful,” said Broken Hill Nursing Supervisor Debbie Olds. “There are so many personalities on offer from the super-smooch to the more independent.”

“Cats can be the ideal addition to a home, as they are naturally independent creatures that don’t need much supervision,” said Ms Olds. “But though they can take care of themselves many still love a good cuddle— and they fit perfectly on your lap, too!”

WHAT: $25 cat and kitten adoptions
WHEN: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 to Saturday 6th December 2014
WHERE: RSPCA Broken Hill Shelter, South Road, Broken Hill

Bushfire and storm season: Plan your pet’s survival

RSPCA NSW is urging those writing or  revising their bushfire and storm survival plans to ensure their animals are included, as the state again braces for extreme weather and catastrophic fire conditions over the coming months.

“It’s crucial to plan ahead,” said RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman. “The sad reality is some people have no choice but to leave their animals behind because they’ve not included their pets as part of their evacuation plan,” Mr  Coleman added.

It’s important to have different plans for companion animals and livestock.

RSPCA NSW’s companion animal evacuation checklist:
  • Have carry boxes (for smaller pets), leads (for dogs) and halters (for horses) ready. 
  • Ensure pets wear collars and current ID tags with current contact information.
  • Always have a secondary contact number on the ID tag or microchip record — a home phone won’t be answered in an evacuation. 
  • Ensure pets are microchipped and registered with your local council.
  • Prepare an emergency pet supply kit including food and water, food and water bowls, kitty litter and litter tray for cats, medication, blankets and towels. 
  • Keep current photos of your pets in case they become lost. 
  • If pets should become lost during an emergency, contact the RSPCA for tips on how to locate them.
  • Appoint a backup person who can implement your evacuation plan in your absence.  
RSPCA NSW’s livestock preparedness checklist:
  • Prepare and maintain fuel-reduced areas onto which livestock can be moved and held. 
  • Have emergency supplies of fodder and water available.

NSW regions at high risk of bushfire NSW regions at high risk of storms NSW regions at high risk of flood
  • Wollongong
  • Sydney’s North Shore & Northern Beaches 
  • The Greater Hunter
  • Shoalhaven
  • Eurobodalla
  • Bega Valley
  • Upper Lachlan
  • Yass Valley
  • Palerang
  • Queanbeyan
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Ballina
  • Lismore
  • Byron Shire
  • Tweed Shire
  • Clarence Valley
  • The Hawkesbury
  • Maitland
  • Cabonne
  • Forbes
  • Tweed Shire
Information courtesy of GIO Insurance