Nicole Cleary (rear, second from left), with some RSPCA volunteers and charges
Nicole Cleary (rear, second from left), with some RSPCA volunteers and charges Alan Lander

RSPCA centre's 93% 'save' rate

ONCE upon a time, RSPCA centres were regarded as 'kill centres' for animals, due to their location with council pounds, and often unfair comparisons to privately run animal rescue groups.

Not any more.

Nicole Cleary, manager of Noosa's RSPCA centre in Hollet Road has seen a huge culture change during her 23 years with the service, and is proud to say Noosa has the highest percentage of 'live released' animals - meaning those who are not euthanised - in the statewide organisation where the average is a still-impressive 89%.

"We have a 93% live release,” Ms Cleary said.

"The only time we have to consider euthanisation is in a difficult medical case, or aggression, where if a dog can't go into the community and live a content life.

"I could never live with the thought of a child being killed by a released dog.”

Ms Cleary admits the 'live release' number could never be 100%, as the RSPCA and council pound cannot make choices on an animal's potential to be re-homed, unlike some private animal rescue and adoption operators who can potentially choose.

Not that it's a bone of contention across the region's domestic pet rescue groups like Sippy Creek Animal Refuge and 4Paws, as they all cooperate extremely well.

"Most people used to think 'they [RSPCA] take it then they kill it'. It's just horrendous,” Ms Cleary said.

"But that has changed over the last 10 years in duty of care.

"The mission statement these days is to enlighten and change animals and people's lives.

"I've seen a huge difference over the last 23 years.”

Walking through the Noosa centre, which is run by two staff and 80 volunteers - yes, 80 -who clean out living areas and walk the dogs, it's clearly a very different experience from days past, with a colourful, open environment lending to happier, hopefully temporary "clients”.

"We know that how people feel, when they leave here, will impact on their view of the organisation,” Ms Cleary said.

"We've got an open environment; it's more like a boarding facility, not like the old noisy, ugly, scary places they once were.

"We have lots of people and children visit, just to spend time with the animals - that really makes a difference.”

Ms Cleary said the best thing anyone can do to help reduce the pressure on all animal rescue and adoption services is to get their pets de-sexed.