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Released today, the latest annual national statistics from RSPCA Australia paint a bleak picture for Australia's cat population, prompting the organisation to reiterate its call for mandatory desexing of cats and dogs.

In FY 06/07, 58,480 cats were accepted from the community by RSPCA Australia, which is a drop of almost 4.5% on the previous year's figures (In ACT 2538 cats were accepted, a drop of 2.3%).

However, only 25,137 of these (or less than 43%) were reclaimed or rehomed. (In ACT 1408 cats were reclaimed or rehomed or 55%).

RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil said that while an increase of 3.8% on the number of cats that had been reclaimed or rehomed in FY05/06 was a significant achievement, the number of stray, unwanted and surrendered cats coming to RSPCA Australia was still far too high.

"These statistics do show our efforts to educate pet owners and the wider community and to encourage responsible practices like microchipping and desexing are having an effect," said Ms Neil.

"However, we are still facing a huge problem with cat owners not desexing their pets, not microchipping their pets and not claiming them when they go missing," she said.

"The pet overpopulation problem is a simple formula: while Australia has one of the highest levels of pet ownership in the world, we are still breeding more animals than we can find good homes for,

"There will only ever be a limited number of suitable homes available for cats in need; therefore, we desperately need to work from the other side of the equation and reduce the number of cats we receive," said Ms Neil.

By comparison, 67,703 dogs were received, with 45,730 or 67.5% of these reclaimed or rehomed. (In ACT 1406 dogs were received, with 1227 or 87% of these reclaimed or rehomed).

Ms Neil said RSPCA Australia remained firm in its position that all pets that aren't used in breeding by professional registered breeders should be desexed, to prevent unwanted births and reduce fighting and straying.

"There still seems to be some resistance to desexing in the community," she said.

"Desexing is a critical part of the solution but we do also need education to become better pet owners as well as increasing our implementation of pet identification through tags and microchipping," said Ms Neil.

RSPCA Australia releases its annual national statistics around October each year, and they detail the number of animals accepted from the community, reclaimed or rehomed as well as euthanased, in addition to statistics on complaints, prosecutions and convictions.

In the last financial year, the RSPCA nationally accepted a total of 144,421 animals from the community, including 18,238 other animals such as livestock, horses, native wildlife and small animals. (In ACT a total of 7193 animals were accepted from the community, including 509 other animals).

Australia's best-known and most trusted animal welfare charity, the RSPCA also investigated 41,915 complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, securing 236 convictions from 352 prosecutions. (In ACT RSPCA investigated 684 complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, securing 1 conviction).

RSPCA Australia collates these statistics nationally, and trends can vary on a state-by-state basis.

The RSPCA's annual national statistics for each year since 1997 can be viewed online at


Last Update: 18/12/07 21:49 Views: 3967

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