Page 3903 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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Seeing how the Chief Minister does not have the courage, then at least he should bring his evidence and place it on the table, to support his allegations. And he should table that evidence now. If he cannot table that evidence, then he should do the honourable thing and resign.


DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.05): We have a variety of topics tonight in the adjournment debate. I am going to talk about a very nice topic that everyone will feel warm and harmonious about. I am going to talk about the RSPCA. Do you remember a song that had one more syllable than that? Singing is not my forte but respect for the RSPCA is.

Last week I went to an information night that the RSPCA ran for prospective volunteers. I am in the sad position of having lost in recent weeks my dog of 16 years, and I cannot tell you how hard it is to go for a walk without a dog. So I went along to the RSPCA meeting to find out how I could continue to walk dogs, without owning a dog. I was not alone. There were over 70 people at that meeting, which indicates the standing of that organisation in our community.

The RSPCA deals with 6,500 domestic animals a year. I guess it is a bit of a sad reflection on our society that so many people take on animals and then lose the plot halfway. The RSPCA have got 30 permanent paid staff, but 120 volunteers working there regularly. There are 50 wildlife carers, of which my daughter has been one and no doubt will be again. Their paws walk will this year be between the Commonwealth and Kings Avenue bridges. Normally it is in Belconnen. That will require 50 to 100 volunteers.

One of their programs is paws volunteers. Don’t these very words make you feel warm and cosy inside? Paws volunteers do not just deal with animals; they also help people. There are a number of people in homes who have pets and, because of their own health or other reasons, they do not go outside very much and are not capable of walking their pets. So the paws volunteers undertake to walk at least once a week these people’s animals. They are normally, fortunately, dogs. Very rarely are they goldfish, because everyone knows you cannot take a goldfish for a walk.

At any one time within the shelter, there are 60 dogs. Recently there were 40 pups. One lot of pups, as I think people know, was found on top of Mount Taylor; another was found in one of those great big bins, whose name I cannot remember at the moment, because I am nearly brain dead. Mostly they have 80 cats. Cats, of course, are a huge problem that we are going to address in the Assembly in the next day or two. And so we should. They normally have 1,500 kittens a year to deal with. Obviously they do not find homes for very many of those.

But talking of music, the RSPCA has found that piping classical music through the dogs’ kennels calms them and that Mozart is the most effective of the composers. However, they find that most of the staff get very sick of Mozart; so they do have to vary it.

I am sure that you will all be pleased to know that the RSPCA can de-sex cats for people on Centrelink benefits for $80. That is really important because of the price of de-sexing

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