Animal Welfare Improves Despite Tough Financial Year for RSPCA ACT

RSPCA ACT has released its 2013/14 results today as a preview for the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 25 November.  It was a clearly a tough financial year for the organisation as we showed a deficit of $551,484 and a reduction of net assets from $1.1m to $401,530.  This was after a year of significant leadership changes and a reduction in fundraising revenue partially attributed to an economic downturn in the Canberra community.

RSPCA ACT is heavily reliant on donations and bequests.  With only 15% of funding coming from government and an approximate 40% of our revenue currently comes from fundraising activities, any reduction in donations or bequests has a substantial impact. That is why over the past twelve years, we have shown a financial loss in nine of those twelve years.  This past year was particularly significant as our financial reserves were depleted to critical levels.

Despite these challenges, animal welfare continued to improve with some key statistics this year:
• Highest number of kitten adoptions ever recorded;
• Highest number of adult dog adoptions in 3 years
• 25.6% decrease in the euthanasia number for domesticated felines
• 28 less dogs and puppies were euthanased compared to last year;
• 11.4% increase in cat and kitten adoptions over the previous year; and
• 93% homing/rehoming rate for dogs and puppies which is similar to previous years. 

Tammy Ven Dange, our CEO since February 2014 said, “In light of the challenging financial situation, we had to make some significant changes at the end of 2013/14.  It was absolutely necessary to reengineer the processes and organisational structure to actually make it better for animal welfare despite reducing our staff numbers. Now we have standardised operations across the various animal areas, have a much more flexible workforce and have reduced the number of times that animals have to be handled or moved before a vet check which reduces the spread of disease.”

The organisation will continue to face financial pressures until new revenue streams can be generated.  Tammy further advised: “We have cut costs as far as we can without significantly reducing the current services we provide or impacting the welfare of the animals in the shelter.  Now, we need to generate more income.  We have some really exciting plans for 2015, and I truly hope that the greater Canberra community will support us now as we try to move the organisation back into financial health.”

As for the move to a new facility?  We can spend only limited energy and resources on a new facility until we can financially stabilise the current one in Weston.  We have been working with the ACT government, and will continue those discussions as soon as we can.  For the moment, the entire team is focussed on ensuring that we are still here next year to look after the animals in our community.