• Question Without Notice-RSPCA staffing levels over holiday periods

    Many reports from the community come to our office about dissatisfaction with the RSPCA and their obligations to investigate and prosecute animal welfare laws.

    With the recent heat wave over the holiday period, and a period where many companion animals are placed into boarding facilities and companion animals suffer greatly, it appears the RSPCA are not protecting animals inline with community expectations. The NSW Police put on extra staff to accommodate the so called silly season, yet the RSPCA winds back their inspectorate staffing levels. How can this be justified?

    Mark Pearson asked the Minister as to whether he is monitoring the RSPCA’s work under the law to properly meet their obligations in regards to animal welfare laws in NSW. We hope both the Minister and the RSPCA take these concerns seriously and provide the community with a detailed response.

    RSPCA STAFFING LEVELS

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Hon. Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and Minister for Trade and Industry.

    Over the summer period there was animal suffering and deaths caused by heat stress, dehydration and starvation in council pounds and boarding kennels. Unlike the NSW Police, which rostered on additional officers during this busy holiday time, the RSPCA reduced the number of inspectors on duty, resulting in delays and animals being left at risk of harm during this critical time.

    Given that the statutory obligation to investigate and enforce our animal welfare laws is a year-round responsibility and overseen by the Minister, what steps does the Minister’s department take to monitor the availability of RSPCA inspectors to discharge their duties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the Hon. Mark Pearson for his question. Obviously, as we have heard many times in this House, the member has a particular interest in the RSPCA and its actions—or, in his view, its lack of action at times. I know he has a particular history with the RSPCA. Nonetheless, the member has asked an important question. It is obviously very much an operational matter as to how the RSPCA schedules the number of officers on duty and when it does that.

    The Hon. Mark Pearson also referred to the role that my agency plays in relation to liaising with the RSPCA, in particular for the parts of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that it is responsible for. In light of the level of operational detail that the member has asked for in his question, I will refer the question back to my department and I will take it on notice. I will seek an answer, and I may need to liaise with the RSPCA as part of that answer, and come back to the member with a detailed response

  • Notice of Motion commending the tireless work of Anna Ludvik, founder of Lucy’s Project

    I recently attended the ‘Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence International Perspectives’ conference held in Sydney hosted by Lucy’s Project. I left so inspired by the great work Anna Ludvik and Lucy’s Project are doing to raise the awareness and educate about an area of domestic violence not often spoken about. To read more about Lucy’s Project please visit their website and like the Facebook page.

    lucys-project-logo-2015

    NOTICE OF MOTION

    1. That this House commends Anna Ludvik, founder of Lucy’s Project, for her work in raising awareness of the issue of animal abuse victims of domestic violence.
    2. That this House notes that at the recent ‘Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence International Perspectives’ conference held in Sydney hosted by Lucy’s Project international guest speaker, Allie Phillips from Sheltering Animals and Pets Together (SAF-T), USA, spoke about the bond between companion animals and human victims of domestic violence, citing the example of Hank, a Great Dane who shielded his female guardian McKenzie from a brutal attack by her
      partner, noting that:
      (a) Hank was honoured for his courage and bravery by the Humane Society of the United States receiving the Valor Dog of the Year and People’s Hero award at the Fifth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards,
      (b) Hank threw himself on top of McKenzie when her partner began attacking her with a hammer, in order to protect McKenzie from the blows,
      (c) the partner then began attacking Hank, beating the dog, throwing him from the porch by the neck,
      (d) McKenzie escaped and called the police who arrived to arrest the partner and found Hank still alive but suffering a broken hip and ribs,
      (e) McKenzie sought refuge at the Rose Brooks Center but when she learned she could not bring Hank with her, she refused to go until the Centre agreed to change its ‘no animals’ policy,
      (f) as a response to the story of Hank, the Rose Brooks Center shelter is building a wing that will house the companion animals of victims of domestic violence, and
      (g) Susan Miller, CEO of Rose Brooks Center, has said: ‘Families need to have a safe place to escape to, a place that welcomes the entire family including pets’.
    3. That this House acknowledges that many human victims of domestic violence are unable to leave abusive partners and seek safety due to the difficulty in finding emergency shelters or rental accommodation that provide housing for companion animals.
  • Notice of Motion congratulating Virgin Australia

    REHOMING OF COMPANION ANIMALS

    (1) That this House congratulates Virgin Australia and Jetpets on entering into a partnership with companion animal rescue charities, Australian Working Dogs Rescue, RSPCA and Pet Rescue to:

    (a) provide free transport for companion animal adoptions and rehoming throughout Australia; and

    (b) assist in the relocation of surrendered greyhounds requiring rehoming as a consequence of the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016.

    (2) That this House notes that every successful rehoming of a companion animal removes a dog or cat from death row in council pounds and RSPCA shelters.

    Motion agreed to.

  • Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum

    UPDATE!

    As per our public agenda that we distributed in the original invitation, please see the following recorded Minutes and discussion points. For further information please contact Josh Agland – joshua.agland@parliament.nsw.gov.au

    1. Welcome and introductions;
      1. Mark, as an MLC represents the whole state of NSW. All NSW residents are urged to contact him with any issues.
      2. Success of animal politics, animal parties around the world.
      3. Attendees include representatives of Broken Hill Pet RescueRRANA (Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals) and local citizens.
      4. Greyhound Ban in NSW.
    2. Introduced Uncle Max. Uncle Max discussed the importance of Totem animals in Indigenous culture, the lores that protect Totem animals and his own personal experiences.
      1. Killing a Totem animal without seeking the permission of the Totem holder is akin to killing that person. A Totem animal is that persons skin.
    3. Updates on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review
    4. Wildlife
      1. Reports of hunters trespassing on private land, killing kangaroos illegally for yabby bait, Joeys kept in vehicles and dumped with wildlife carers.
      2. Now that water is flowing in Menindee, pelicans are being found with fishing line injuries, increases in native water rat drownings from yabby traps.
      3. Serious reports and evidence of landowners and NPWS using an insecticide as a animal poison. Lanatte-L is easily obtained in a concentrated form and is highly toxic. Reports of dog, fox, raptor and other meat eating animals dying from poisoning. Even Echidnas and insect eating birds dying from consuming contaminated ants. Local users call it ‘Magic’ as it kills everything. Various documents supplied to our office regarding this issue from local concerned citizen.
    5. Companion Animals
      1. Unanimous support for mandatory desexing. The problems with undesexed animals in rural areas is amplified due to resources and enforcement.
      2. TNR for free living cats in rural areas is not successful unless people provide easy and regular food to the cats. In populated towns TNR can work, however lack of volunteers/resources and education about free living cats is an issue.
      3. Mobile desexing services and programs, especially within indigenous communities is working, especially when indigenous people are part of the programs and can build community trust. More funding is required.
      4. State wide licensing system for all companion animals should be looked into, this has been implemented in other countries such as Sweden. Fines for non-compliance and enforcement needs to be robust enough to actually act as a deterrent for unlicensed animals, otherwise people may abandon an animal when fined and source a new cheaper animal (puppy factory). Our office to research similar programs for further discussion and consultation.
    6. Closing and thanks.
    mark-pearson-animal-justice-party-broken-hill-visit-2016-uncle-max

    Mark Pearson, MLC, Animal Justice Party and Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulu-mun-mun Harrison in Menindee

    Invitation to Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum

    In February 2016, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. This review held numerous public meetings in rural areas in which issues of trespass and both legal and illegal hunting were to be a main discussion point.

    My office receives numerous calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties, it was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting. I had already intended to visit Broken Hill, in order to address the information that had come to me regarding the disturbing rise in the serious egregious cruelty inflicted on animals in both illegal and legal hunting. I had also organised to meet key animal protection and rescue groups.

    Upon arrival, I was subject to hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. I was not given the opportunity to raise my concerns regarding the brutality of hunting and its increased incidence on private property and how this terrifies land owners as well as terrifying, maiming and killing animals. It appears this National party member wants to obstruct any constructive discussion to address the growing violent culture of killing animals for sick enjoyment which in turn frightens property owners where these animals live or move through.

    I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation. As promised to the supportive local citizens I am organising a public meeting to address all the above issues as well as local pound reform. I invite any members of the public to attend the Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum to participate in a discussion on issues concerning animal cruelty, abuse and neglect in Broken Hill and surrounds. I have personally sent out invitations to Local MP Kevin Humphries, Broken Hill local Councillors, NSW Police Minister and Shadow Minister, NSW Local Government Minister and Shadow Minister, LAC for the region and Rural Crime Investigators for Broken Hill area, as well as all local police.

    A public agenda for the forum can be found HERE

    mark-pearson-mlc-animal-justice-party

    Chair/Facilitator – Mark Pearson, MLC, Animal Justice Party

    uncle-max-harrison-aboriginal-elder-1

    Special Guest – Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulu-mun-mun Harrison, Uncle Max

    WHEN: Tuesday 6th September

    TIME: 7 PM – 9 PM

    WHERE: Broken Hill Community Centre – 200 Beryl St, Broken Hill

    RSVP by 2nd September 2016

    For further information and RSVP please contact: Angela Pollard on 02 9230 2445, angela.pollard@parliament.nsw.gov.au

  • Mark to speak at Wagga Wagga council pound rally

    The community was shocked and appalled when claims of kittens being left to die in freezers at its Wagga council’s Glenfield Road Animal Shelter was exposed. Further claims of dogs  wrongly killed, reports of pets going missing from official records and other animals being left without veterinary care was also documented.

    Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    The community, volunteers and my office are in shock as to how the RSPCA could not find evidence of cruelty to prosecute. We demand answers. I asked the Minister responsible for animal welfare in NSW, Niall Blair, to please explain. The community deserve answers, these animals deserve justice. The Minister, under section 34B (4) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act has the power to request a report from the RSPCA, to demand answers.

    In response to this inaction from the Council, RSPCA and the Government, a demonstration will be held next Monday at Wagga Council Chambers, we will demand justice. I will be attending this rally to support the concerned community and to speak on behalf of these animals.

    WHEN: Monday 30 May 2016

    TIME: Rally to occur between 4.30pm and 7.30pm (Council Meeting starts at 6.00pm).

    WHERE: Wagga City Council Chambers (Baylis Street) (Parking available at Myers).

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