Calls for funding to stop animal cruelty
■ 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.