THE NSW RSPCA chief inspector David O’Shannessy has responded to recent claims that the animal welfare organisation has been lax in their job within the Inverell district.
The Joint Select Committee on Companion Animal Breeding Practices in NSW heard the accounts of inactivity by the RSPCA at the first public meeting in Armidale on July 14.
Inverell whistleblower Judy Scrivener testified she had posed as a dog buyer to gain access to a property suspected of animal welfare issues.
She asked why it was left to community members to uncover bad practice on properties.
“Why aren’t the RSPCA doing it? Why are we doing the job?” Ms Scrivener said.
PRIORITIES: NSW RSPCA chief inspector David O’Shannessy explains the difficulties for their investigators.
Mr O’Shannessy said there are 30 RSPCA for the state of NSW.
Sixteen of the 30 inspectors cover more than 780,000 square kilometres of regional NSW.
Mr O’Shannessy said within those boundaries, inspectors revisit cases for assessment with written or verbal directives, conduct proactive inspections and animal rescues.
“As I understand the oral evidence provided to the committee, all organisations, including the RSPCA could benefit from additional resources,” he said.
Mr O’Shannessy said it was difficult to respond to specific allegations as he was not privy to details, adding the RSPCA received and investigated more than 15,500 complaints in the 2014-15 financial year.
“The inspectors prioritise and re-prioritise their investigation of these complaints on a daily basis depending on the nature of complaint and the welfare of the individual animals concerned.”
He said the RSPCA refer urgent complaints to the NSW police if a gap in response time is likely.
“I suspect even the police, with over 15,000 officers would say they, too, could benefit from additional resources.”
Distance between complaints is another influence on response.
“For example a complaint about an animal that is alleged to be in a condition where it might die as a consequence of it not being provided with proper and sufficient food or veterinary treatment will be attended sooner than a complaint about a dog that is tethered and allegedly not receiving daily exercise,” he said.
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