Introducing the Queensland RSPCA
by Nadya of OcelotEyes
My furry best friend, a cocker spaniel named Charlie, was adopted from the QLD RSPCA last year. I live in Brisbane, Australia, and as everyone by now will know, much of the state of Queensland has been devastated by flooding in the recent weeks.
These floods are now known as one of the worst disasters in Queensland's history and they are still affecting even more of the country: parts of New South Wales and now Victoria. I read the news daily with a heavy heart, learning about all the people affected, homes and businesses destroyed, families evacuated but what about the animals, the lost pets and the wildlife?
The QLD RSPCA is one of Queensland's foremost organisations doing literally life-saving work for our animals - both pets, and wild ones, as well as community initiatives to raise awareness of the plight of animals. When one thinks of the RSPCA, they immediately remember their animal shelters, where lost, abandoned, abused and neglected pets can be healed, de-sexed, and find new homes.
One of their recent community initiatives is to raise awareness of puppy mills, including a petition to the government to close puppy factories, which has now attracted over 20,000 signatures! Their "Wildlife Ward"' continues to receive animals even after the floods - from kangaroos with broken tails, to baby lizards, to helpless rainbow lorikeets whose nectar has been washed away by the rain - though they are currently being placed with veterinarians and carers until the RSPCA can get back on their feet.
A little history, from the RSPCA's 'About Us' page: http://www.rspcaqld.org.au/aboutus/ "The Queensland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (QSPC) to Animals was established in Brisbane in 1876. After lapsing due to a lack of funds, it was re-established in 1883. Its first Queensland Inspector, Mr Marlowe, was installed and by the end of September 1884, had issued no less than 350 'cautions', mainly for ill-treatment of working horses. These cautions resulted in numerous prosecutions.
The Society dropped the word 'Animals' from its title after nine years, as it had widened its activities to include neglected and ill-treated children and later the care of neglected aged people, also providing vocational guidance for children with disabilities and care for the people with emotional disabilities. In the 1890s and in the early part of the 20th Century, the RSPCA was the sole agency responsible for children's welfare, protecting children from cruelty and all forms of ill treatment by removing them from moral or physical harm where necessary.
The Society maintained an active involvement in the protection and welfare of children until the 1970s, when it once again became solely dedicated to shelter and welfare of animals. The Society became the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland (RSPCA Qld) in 1982 and subsequently on December 23, 1999, was incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. The Society is regarded today as the State's leading authority and agency on animal welfare, offering a range of services designed to alleviate situations that may cause distress to animals."
"The RSPCA's shelter facilities, which now form such a large component of the Society's operations, started humbly with a few cages in a vet surgery. The RSPCA has been based at Fairfield since the early 1900s and took over the old Brisbane council pound in Fairfield in the 1960s. This refuge, built in the 1920s, still serves on the site of the RSPCA's state headquarters. The Society plans to rebuild the facility, along with several regional shelters, during the coming years.
RSPCA branches and shelters are situated throughout the eastern part of the state and include the Brisbane shelters of Fairfield and Pine Rivers, with regional shelters in Bundaberg, Cairns, Noosa, Kingaroy, Toowoomba and in an amalgamation with the NQSPCA in 2001, a shelter at Townsville. Branch Committees are based on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and in Brisbane, Gympie, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.
From one Inspector and several supporters in its fledgling years, the Society has grown to its present day level of around 190 staff throughout the state, generously supported by more than 1,200 volunteers. All who work directly or indirectly with the RSPCA are dedicated to increasing the opportunities and improving the quality of life of each animal in their care.
The RSPCA remains an independent animal welfare charity, striving to educate the community on its responsibilities and continuing to protect and enhance the welfare of animals."
Their animal shelters in many flood-affected towns were closed, and after the rising waters came to Brisbane, RSPCA Qld Shelter at Fairfield (western suburbs of Brisbane) was severely damaged. Thanks to their staff, volunteers and emergency foster carers, all animals were safely and swiftly evacuated before the shelter became engulfed by water, submerging the field and garden, filling the kennels and catteries.
Due to the volume and depth of this floodwater (nearly three metres - over nine feet - in some parts) extensive damage was caused to the shelter, forcing Queensland's leading animal welfare charity to limit operations while the massive undertaking of clean up and recovery began. Without their vital veterinary services, they are dramatically crippled to provide services required to help all creatures great and small.
After the waters receded, I went to volunteer to help with the clean-up. Walking through the neighbourhood where the animal shelter is, was absolutely surreal. There are lines of brown river-muck on the houses, fences, and trees - higher than my head. Some houses are being demolished altogether, parts of roofing and walls and furniture all thrown onto the curbside. And the smell!
But it was a great experience working with the volunteers that day - in just a few hours, the difference that a whole bunch of helping hands working at once, was fantastic to see. A rescued cat was even able to be reinstated into its freshly cleaned and repaired outdoor enclosure, and was having a cat-nap in the shade by the time I left to go home, as though nothing ever happened.
Unfortunately, the QLD RSPCA does not receive government funding from the Premier's Flood Appeal, so they rely on donations from kind-hearted people. Thus, I'm very happy that the QLD RSPCA was chosen as the EFA Charity of the Month for February!