Calls for fund­ing to stop an­i­mal cru­elty

Pilbara News - - News - Kelly Bell

■ There were 40 re­ported cases of an­i­mal cru­elty in the Pil­bara in the past year but many more go un­re­ported, ac­cord­ing to the author­i­ties charged with in­ves­ti­gat­ing cru­elty.

RSPCA WA chief ex­ec­u­tive David van Oo­ran, said feed­back from re­gional com­mu­ni­ties and in­spec­tors in­di­cated that a level of an­i­mal cru­elty goes un­re­ported in the North West due to a lack of ed­u­ca­tion, com­pli­ance and en­force­ment pres­ence.

With the clos­est in­spec­tor lo­cated in Ger­ald­ton, he said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was do­ing ev­ery­thing it could to es­tab­lish a per­ma­nent pres­ence in the Pil­bara, but there needed to be more fund­ing.

“With more re­sourc­ing, much more could be done for an­i­mal wel­fare, in­clud­ing more in­spec­tors across WA,” he said.

“RSPCA WA re­ceives mod­est sup­port from the Gov­ern­ment and must self-gen­er­ate more than 90 per cent of the fund­ing re­quired to de­liver its ser­vices.

“The Gov­ern­ment re­ceives an out­stand­ing re­turn on the $500,000 in tax­payer fund­ing.”

Last year, in­spec­tors in­ves­ti­gated more than 6000 an­i­mal cru­elty re­ports across the State.

Pil­bara res­i­dent Dean Lyon has formed the group An­i­mal Wel­fare Western Aus­tralia and started a pe­ti­tion last month, af­ter notic­ing the “huge is­sue with an­i­mal wel­fare” in the North West was go­ing un­re­ported.

In his pe­ti­tion, Mr Lyon is call­ing on Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Ken Bas­ton to fund RSPCA WA ad­e­quately so that in­spec­tors can be lo­cated in all re­gional towns.

Mr Lyon ac­cused the Depart­ment of plac­ing un­re­al­is­tic pres­sure on the RSPCA to pro­vide ser­vices for the whole State on min­i­mal State fund­ing.

“It is a sign of a de­vel­oped na­tion that we treat our an­i­mals hu­manely,” he said.

“I started the pe­ti­tion as a means of rais­ing public aware­ness to the is­sue, and to demon­strate to our elected of­fi­cials that the public ex­pects them to meet their re­spon­si­bil­ity and not re­ply upon char­i­ties to fundraise to meet Gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Mr Lyon said while not-for­profit group Sav­ing An­i­mals from Eu­thana­sia did a fan­tas­tic job at find­ing an­i­mals new homes, they did not have the re­sources or pow­ers to in­ves­ti­gate an­i­mal cru­elty, or tackle the is­sues be­hind the large num­ber of an­i­mals which are dumped.

SAFE Hed­land co-or­di­na­tor Sa­man­tha Wain­wright said it was time peo­ple who were ne­glect­ing and abus­ing an­i­mals were held re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions.

She said she was tired of in­jured an­i­mals brought to her with no con­se­quences for the own­ers. “An­i­mals are a life­time choice and do not de­serve to be treated with any­thing but re­spect, just like hu­mans,” she said.

“If we had the RSPCA here they would be able to in­ves­ti­gate and fine peo­ple, while build­ing a bet­ter an­i­mal-safe en­vi­ron­ment in Hed­land.”

In re­sponse to the con­cerns, Mr Bas­ton said the Gov­ern­ment funds pro­vided to RSPCA were not tied to a spe­cific lo­ca­tion, and it was a mat­ter for the or­gan­i­sa­tion to de­ter­mine the most ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion for its staff.

He said all po­lice of­fi­cers in the State also had pow­ers of a gen­eral in­spec­tor.

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