Change of focus flagged for RSPCA
THE RSPCA wants to recapture its original purpose under a new leader after the resignation of chief executive Peter West.
“The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should be our focus, at the moment we are focusing on sheltering animals, so we are trying to be all things to all people,” Mr West said.
“I think we need to focus more on that prevention of cruelty to animals.”
Mr West, the chief execun tive for four years, will not renew his contract in February.
The interim leader will be Andrew Byrne, who is presently the chief veterinarian.
Mr West said the organisation would focus on upholding animal-welfare laws through its inspectorate while leaving the shelter of animals to rescue organisations.
He said the RSPCA was too reliant on donations from individuals of about $1 million a year. When there was a shortfall of $300,000 in 2016-2017, the organisation recorded a $780,000 loss.
Mr West said centres in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport may not all be maintained after a review.
“We, as a community, need to grow up a little bit and understand that we are a population of 520,000 people.
“In WA, there are 2.5 million people and they have one RSPCA centre.
“It is not that we need an RSPCA on every corner, we can still look after animals very well by operating differently.”
Dr Byrne said there would be changes and “a few quite tough decisions” as the organ- isation moved to a more sustainable model working with the Ten Lives cat centre, the Dogs Home and other reputable rescue centres.
Dr Byrne said the organisation wanted to help the animals most in need, such as sick and injured animals, and that was why it had been building the veterinary side of things.
The inspectorate would be increased from 4.6 to a six fulltime equivalents.
Mr West said one of his achievements was increasing the RSPCA’s live release rate from 58 per cent to 80 per cent.