Pit Bull Hysteria in Victoria

On August 26, 2011, in bsl, Victoria, by Mike Bailey

Hugh Wirth confirms RSPCA opposition to breed bans

Despite the RSPCA making their position clear to the Minister, Peter Walsh prefers to remember what Hugh Wirth said in 2009. “The president of the RSPCA is on the public record as well in believing that this type of dog has no right to exist as well,” he said. Let’s see what Hugh Wirth had to say about this in 2010.

Minister Peter Walsh was recently happy with current laws

“I think we’ve actually got it fairly right at the moment so I don’t anticipate there being any changes”. Tune in from 2m40s to hear a prophetic interview with the Minister recorded several weeks before the Herald Sun Ayen Chol died and the Herald Sun started their #banthebreed campaign.

The Australian Veterinary Association Opposed Breed Bans

Despite having some of the most restrictive rules for dog owners in the world, dog attacks still happen in Australia. Vets say overregulation is not the answer.

“Following the tragic dog attack in Melbourne this week it’s vital that we redouble our efforts to improve education and socialisation of dogs and people,” said Dr Kersti Seksel from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

“It’s understandable that people are now calling for the banning of some breeds, however all the good evidence available shows that this doesn’t work,” she said

“Unfortunately we believe the banning and overregulation of dogs in our communities could be part of the problem as this leads to poor socialisation and increased risk of attacks.

So Who Is Supporting Breed Bans?

This clown again.


A Chance To Speak Up For Animals

In June 2011 I was contacted by the ABC to give comment for a story about the Cat Protection Society of Victoria. I agreed and they sent a reporter and camera operator out to to my place on the same day. About a month later I received an email to say the story would go to air on Friday 12 Aug.

Surprised to See RSPCA Vic Alongside LDH & CPS

I expected the story to be focused on claims the CPS had been misrepresenting its statistics to the public. The story ended up focusing largely on claims that the No Kill movement were “waging a cyber war” against the RSPCA, Lost Dogs Home and Cat Protection Society of Victoria. I was surprised to hear RSPCA Vic being lumped in with LDH and CPS when they are leagues apart.

Animal Advocates are Working With RSPCA Vic

The story incorrectly stated that animal advocates have been attacking RSPCA Victoria. The exact opposite is true for the simple reason that they are working steadily toward reducing their kill rates.

  • Their annual reports (including statistics) have been available on their website for many years now
  • Their foster care program saved over 600 lives in 2010
  • They respond promptly to all (reasonable) questions on their Facebook page
  • They emptied their catteries last year with an innovative ‘adoption fee waived’ promotion
  • Their ‘Twilight Adoption’ extended hours make it easier for people to adopt
  • They are open all day on weekends

"I see the No Kill activists as leading the way and that's the same with any social change."


Lost Dogs Home Are In The Doghouse

The Lost Dogs Home does not have many friends in animal welfare.

  • They reported a live release rate of just 14.2% for cats in 2010 (compared to 40% at RSPCA)
  • They won’t tell us how many animals were fostered in 2010
  • Their annual reports (including statistics) were not made available to the public till 2010
  • They remove reasonable questions from their Facebook page and ban people who ask them
  • They close at lunchtime on Sundays and public holidays

"They are cyber bullies because they're on the Internet trying to create controversy."

My Comments Were Not Directed At RSPCA Vic

I was interviewed about CPS, not RSPCA Vic. I have assisted them over the last couple of years and just last week attended their annual Seminar. I have no idea who told the producer that “the No Kill movement” were attacking RSPCA. Could it have been one of the other two shelters mentioned? It wouldn’t be the first time they let a reporter say something incorrect.

"The problem with allowing these people to be the public face of animal welfare is that they're holding back change and they're keeping us stuck in a 20th century kill model."

Stay Tuned For More On Cat Protection Society

There’s a lot more to this story. Out of the 166,000 viewers on Friday night, many will know someone who has worked there and may be able to shed more light on what goes on there. Expect to hear more over coming months.


Reuniting Pets with their Families

On July 30, 2011, in cats, lost dogs home, by Mike Bailey

It makes me sad to see ‘Lost Cat’ posters in my neighbourhood. It means someone has lost a family member and is probably worried sick. They usually have a photo, along with a description and phone number to call.

Cat Trappers are on the Rise

I can’t help but wonder how many of these pets have been caught and taken to the pound by cat trappers.

While some believe they are helping the cats there are others who see cats as a pest that do not belong in our communities.

Most Councils freely loan out traps to any resident who asks for one.

When Council receives a request, a trap is delivered to a specific place.

Trapped cats are collected by Council officers and impounded at The Lost Dogs’ Home.

The traps catch cats humanely and are the same type as those used by animal welfare agencies such as the RSPCA and The Lost Dogs’ Home.

If cats are registered and/or microchipped, they are returned to their owners.

The Lost Dogs’ Home holds unidentifiable cats for eight days and assesses them to see whether they can be adopted out.

Yarra City Council Website

What isn’t made clear is that The Lost Dogs’ Home killed almost 90% of the cats they received in 2010. For the vast majority of impounded cats, being trapped is a virtual death sentence.

The Lost Dogs' Home killed 9 out of 10 cats in 2010

Pound Contractors to Benefit from Increased Impounds

For the holders of Melbourne’s Council pound contracts, an increase in impounds means more business. Some have been lobbying for changes that would increase the number of cats trapped.

  • the “Who’s For Cats” program has led to an increase in impounds
  • the introduction of cat curfews could lead to fines for trapped cats
A loophole in the legislation allows them to bypass the mandatory 8 day holding period for owners to locate their cats. They can kill any cat on entry if the owner is not identifiable and they say it’s wild, uncontrollable or diseased.

How can we improve this situation?

Notify Owners: If owners go to the trouble of posting notices on power poles, why shouldn’t those trapping cats also be required to do that same? Why not require Councils to post the details of trapped cats (including time, date and address of trapping) on the nearest power pole to where the cat was trapped?They could also be required to post a photo of the cat within a certain timeframe to their website and the website of their pound contractor.

Regulate Trapping: Being trapped can be highly stressful and poses serious welfare risks to cats:

  • lacerations on face and body from smashing into cages
  • risks from exposure to the elements
  • contraction of disease if the trap has not been properly cleaned
  • contraction of disease if mixed with other cats
  • poor handling
  • being left in hot cars
  • In the case of pets being trapped, it is also causes great distress to owners.

Perhaps cat trapping should restricted to trained and authorised animal welfare personnel?



Many of us are now aware that The Lost Dogs’ Home killed 13,594 animals last year and rehomed just 3,101. The Lost Dogs’ Home claim that the cats and dogs they kill are just the unadoptable ones. This cannot explain why their kill rates are so much higher than other Melbourne pounds.

Science To The Rescue!

A few years ago a research paper entitled “What Happens To Shelter Dogs” was published that compared the outcomes for animals from three Melbourne shelters. These were:

  • The Lost Dogs’ Home, North Melbourne [City Shelter]
  • RSPCA, Burwood [Suburban Shelter]
  • Animal Aid, Coldstream [Rural Shelter]

Could They Be Killing Dogs To Reduce Costs?

In 2010, only four out of every ten unclaimed dogs were offered for adoption at The Lost Dogs’ Home. How do they choose the unlucky ones? In Victoria, pounds and shelters are required by law to ensure all animals are desexed before sale. Desexing a male dog is generally less costly in both time and resources than desexing a female. Of course, picking out dogs who were are already desexed would offer the biggest saving.

Study Shows LDH Killing Females at a Higher Rate

At the city shelter, bitches were euthanized almost twice as frequently
as at the other shelters, χ2(6, N = 8,883) = 693.72, p < .0001, although
males were euthanized at about 1.5 times the frequency of other shelters,
χ2(6, N = 11,846) = 816.02, p < .0001.

Study Shows LDH Killing Sexually Entire Animals at a Higher Rate

Sexually entire animals formed approximately 66% of animals euthanized at
the rural and suburban shelters but a highly significant 91.7% of
those euthanized at the city, χ2(2, N = 6,539) = 594.72, p < .0001.

Do The Lost Dogs Home Still Selectively Kill Dogs Based on Sex, Size and Sexual Entirety?

We’re repeatedly told that LDH only kill dogs who are untreatably sick or injured or are too aggressive to be rehomed. It’s farcical to suggest that 60% of unclaimed dogs fall into these categories and there is no evidence provided to support their claims.

On the contrary, these dogs are hidden from public view from the moment they are impounded until the day they are sent off in body bags. The Lost Dogs Home has refused calls for them to post pictures of impounded dogs on the internet. This common practice make it easier for owners to locate the pup but would lift the veil of secrecy around their “processing” of unclaimed dogs.

The Question Lost Dogs Home Wouldn’t Answer

I’d been corresponding with LDH for around six months until one day in March, 2011 when I posed the following question:

In the year to 30 June 2010,

  • how many dogs and how many cats were surrendered by owners to LDH?
  • how many of the dogs received, reclaimed, rehomed or destroyed were sexually entire on entry?
I believe I’ve stumbled across an explanation for why they kill so many dogs. It’s cheaper to pick out the desexed ones for adoption and then supplement them with a few that require desexing to make up the quota.
Here’s a special treat for those of you who are good with numbers.

The Lost Dogs’ Home caught culling undesexed dogs.