RSPCA’s plans to expand north stall

Alicia Perera and Jakeb WaddellPilbara News
Richard Barry of the RSPCA with Tilly, a Maltese cross rescued from an abusive owner, pictured after being shaved of severely matted hair.
Camera IconRichard Barry of the RSPCA with Tilly, a Maltese cross rescued from an abusive owner, pictured after being shaved of severely matted hair. Credit: Nic Ellis/WA News

Plans to establish an animal welfare inspector in the North West have been shelved for lack of funding but there remains a chance the proposal could be revisited in coming years.

The RSPCA, which does not have an inspector based north of Geraldton, toured the Kimberley and Pilbara to canvas the possibility of introducing an inspector to both regions in 2017.

It received strong local support from the Shire of Broome and Town of Port Hedland councils, which both approved funding for the position.

Broome was identified as the best initial location for a North West inspector, who would service the Kimberley, to be followed by a second inspector for the Pilbara. But lack of further funding and high living costs in the two regions mean the idea has been put on hold.

RSPCA WA chief executive Iain Torrance said it was disappointing the organisation had been unable to base an inspector in the North West so far but it still hoped to do so in future.

“RSPCA WA would love to have a presence in Broome to not only respond to cruelty reports but to work with the community on promoting better animal welfare throughout the region,” he said.

RSPCA WA chief executive Iain Torrance.
Camera IconRSPCA WA chief executive Iain Torrance. Credit: RSPCA WA

“Early discussions held with local councils in the Kimberley and Pilbara were well received, and plans were put in place to proceed with developing the role further, pending financial support from four councils in the regions.

“While we had commenced recruitment for an inspector, it became evident that the financial commitment required to adequately resource the role to cover the vast region was underestimated, and without the support of all councils in the area, it was not sustainable.”

It comes after the RSPCA WA last week released statistics revealing WA’s animal cruelty hotspots, which did not feature any areas in the Kimberley or Pilbara. However, in 2017 former chief executive David van Ooran said both regions were in “desperate need” of an inspector because they were the site of “significant” animal welfare issues.

Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said although the council had resolved to part-fund an RSPCA position in late 2017, the organisation had concluded the process because of financial constraints.

“As a council, we recognise that there are issues on animal cruelty in the Kimberley and would be willing to consider any future proposal from the RSPCA to help deal with this,” he said.

There are seven inspectors in the metropolitan area and four regionally, based in Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany and Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

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