Our most ambitious strategy to save more lives
An estimated 100,000 pets are killed in council pounds and shelters every year, and most are never given the chance to find a new home. But the problem isn’t irresponsible pet owners, overpopulation or abandonment. The issue is flawed legislation and a dysfunctional pound system that has no legal obligation to save the lives of pets or find homes for them. It’s a system that continually fails to meet our communities’ expectations.
When we founded PetRescue in 2004, our focus was on showing people just how amazing rescue pets are, getting rescue pets online, and making adoption the number one option. We thought if we could help one pet connect with a new family, it would be worth it.
Fast forward 15 years, and with the help of thousands of pet-loving supporters, we’re proud to say that rescue pets are nationally loved and coveted, with more people than ever before choosing to adopt. PetRescue members now list and find homes for over 80,000 pets every year, which is all kinds of amazing and wonderful, but there’s something that still keeps us awake at night...
Every year, 100,000 pets are killed in Australia’s archaic pound system. Pets still aren’t safe, and that’s just not ok with us.
Volunteer rescue organisations do an incredible job saving at-risk pets from council pounds, often at great cost to their own livelihoods. But they are propping up a broken system, and just don’t have the capacity to take another 100,000 pets. That’s why we’re working towards positive solutions to keep pets safe, and to make rescue sustainable for all - for people and pets.
So it’s time to DISRUPT Australia’s pound system!
In our most ambitious strategic plan yet, we’re leveraging our greatest strengths as the digital innovators and disruptors of animal welfare to develop a whole raft of positive solutions that will ultimately keep pets safe.
Helping communities care for their cats
PetRescue has seen a huge upturn in cat adoptions in the past three years. And yet, more than 60,000 healthy cats and kittens are killed every year in Australia’s pounds and shelters, with no effect on the overall urban stray cat population which replenishes year after year.
It’s time to challenge old legislation and give people real power to care for cats in their community. Which is why PetRescue is proud to be part of a groundbreaking four-year pilot research project that's desexing urban stray cats to advance cat management and welfare in Australia. Read more about the Community Cat Program.
Keeping pets out of the pound system
To really fix the archaic pound system and stop the unnecessary killing of pets, we need to look at the big picture, shake it up, disrupt it, and find ways to keep pets out of the system in the first place. And in 2020 PetRescue launched the Home2Home program, designed to keep pets out of an unsafe system and support their adoption journey from their current home, directly into their new home.
Micro-battles: One pound at a time
Most pets that enter the pound system are killed without ever being listed for adoption because the vast majority of pounds don’t have a rehoming program. We want to change that, and ensure pets are given the chance of finding a new home via Australia’s most visited charity website - PetRescue.com.au. We’ve learned through our Safe & Sound Pounds program that working step-by-step and one-on-one with council pounds has produced the best outcomes. It’s helped progressive pounds learn how to grow their adoption programs with great success. And it’s helped us identify the pounds that show potential to make positive change. These are the micro-battles we will fight to get Australia closer to a future where every pet is safe, respected and loved.
Harnessing a huge life-saving resource
Vets are often the first people pet owners turn to when they’re at risk of giving up their pet. They’re also regularly employed by council pounds to carry out the needless euthanasia of impounded pets, which takes a huge emotional toll on vets and vet clinic staff. Becoming a PetRescue member enables vets to do exactly what they entered the profession to do - to love and care for pets. It gives them the free resources to list pets in their care for adoption and help clients who can no longer look after their pet to rehome them. And when you consider there are approximately 2,300 vet clinics in Australia, there’s huge untapped potential to save thousands of lives. Find out more about our Vet Recruitment program.
Knowledge is power to the people
Our followers, subscribers and supporters are some of our biggest advocates for pets and pet adoption. But many are still unaware that flawed animal management legislation and a dysfunctional pound system are resulting in 100,000 pet deaths every year. That’s why we’ve made public communication a key part of our strategy. We want to put people in-the-know on the big issues facing pets in the pound system and urban/stray cats, and help them fully understand how working together creates positive solutions and positive outcomes in their own communities.
Financial sustainability and self-care for rescue
Some pounds allow community rescue groups to take pets they have slated to kill, putting rescue volunteers under extra financial and emotional strain to save more lives. Our positive solutions will help reduce that pressure. But we’re also committed to nurturing a financially sustainable, positive and progressive community of volunteer rescue groups by offering more free resources and help articles via our Members Library. We’ve got sponsored places for compassion fatigue courses, liability insurance advice, and tips on fundraising and pitching for a corporate partner. Not forgetting the donate button, allowing thousands of PetRescue visitors to donate directly to a pet or rescue group of their choice.
Tech to connect more pets with adopters, faster
One of the biggest barriers to pet adoption we face today is the lack of response from rescue groups that are overworked and under-resourced and often struggle to respond to all adoption enquiries. And we understand that can be very disheartening for the enquirer. The solution is our Matchmakers program! We’re investing in technology to lighten the load for rescue organisations, improve the experience for all potential pet adopters and find the right home for pets faster. Check out the latest update on Matchmakers.
We won’t stop until every pet is safe, respected and loved. Are you with us?
It won’t be easy, and we don’t have all the answers yet. But with the help and support of pet lovers, industry partners and everyone who cares about animals, we will keep up the fight until we find all the answers. Are you with us?
Join our big, hairy, audacious mission to create a future where every pet in Australia is safe, respected and loved.
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