Working towards decreasing euthanasia rates, raising the status of small animals as treasured companions, and taking social action to improve their wellbeing.
Working towards responsible animal ownership
Porsche’s Rescue endeavours to operate at the forefront of responsible animal care. This philosophy is present in all aspects of the rescue; from defining appropriate housing standards for small animals, to our responsible re-homing program. Key elements of our vision are described in this outline.
Improving Housing Standards for Small Animals
Small animal housing is not legislated in NSW. Petshops and online stores can sell hutches that are far too small for rabbits and guinea pigs to lead a healthy lifestyle. Without enough room to move or sufficient protection from the weather, they are often living in conditions that are inhumane. Further, no guidelines exist for the number of animals that can be housed within a given space, leading to aggression as they compete for resources; and health problems as urine and faecal matter accumulates. Porsche’s Rescue provides an online housing guideline and requires owners to have a suitable habitat available for their selected small animal/s prior to adoption. We are happy to assist in finding out if a hutch is suitable and can give advice on where to buy a good hutch.
Supporting a Responsible Re-homing Program
The Animal Welfare Code of Practice (2009) for the breeding of dogs and cats stipulates that written information must be provided to each purchaser to ensure that they are aware of their pet ownership responsibilities. Porsche’s Rescue believes all animals (not just dogs and cats) are owed a duty of care, and so we extend this notification to the owners of all our small animals. We have also adopted certain other points in the code of practise, as relevant to our rescue.
As a responsible Rescue we:
1) provide a system of open application for an animal so that the best possible owner can be found for that particular animal
2) screen prospective owners via our adoption enquiry form to assess their suitability for providing a ‘forever home’
3) require prospective owners meet the animal before adoption, providing an opportunity to introduce the animal to other pets and assess their interactions
4) ensure owners are aware of their responsibilities regarding pet ownership when adopting an animal by asking them to sign an adoption certificate which includes the following statement:
I agree to provide [name of small animal] with the best care possible, allowing [him/her] adequate living space and regular handling. If, for any reason I am unable to care for [him/her] any longer, [he/she] must be returned to Porsche’s Rescue and may not be passed on or sold. [Name of small animal] will not be used as feed for any other animal, and will be given the love a pet deserves. Clean water and food will be available at all times and the cage will be kept in a habitable condition. Should [his/her] health decline for any reason, proper veterinary care will be provided.
5) provide a place for animals to be returned to if an owner’s situation changes so that they are no longer able to care for the animal
6) adopt the animal desexed wherever possible, as accidental or unmanaged pregnancies lead to more animals being dumped at shelters, which is a major contributor to the high euthanasia rate
7) protect all rabbits that come through Porsche’s Rescue from the calicivirus through our vaccination program
8) hold a female animal at the rescue for the duration of her gestation period, if a pregnancy is suspected, to ensure she is not adopted pregnant
9) hold the offspring of a pregnant female until after they are weaned
10) hold sick animals until they are in a healthy and stable state or, if veterinary intervention is not a solution, to make the condition of the animal clear when advertised. This is to ensure that terminally ill animals can live out the rest of their days in a kind and loving home
11) provide ongoing support for owners, even after adoption, should they request it
From the moment a rescue animal enters our care, documentation is kept about when it came to us, where it came from, its condition, treatment and so on. Photographic records are taken and a profile is created on PetRescue.com.au. When an animal is re-homed, contact details of its owner are kept. Owners will sometimes send us an update of how their small animal is going, which is always nice to receive. On occasion, an animal will return to rescue if its owner is unable to care for it any more. This does not occur often because of our responsible re-homing program which includes a screening process.
Porsche’s Rescue has a commitment to furthering education about animal welfare both to the public and within the rescue. As a rescue, we regularly attend events, allowing us to share our knowledge with others in an informal environment. We also participate in various online forums and attend conferences and information days to learn more about animal welfare.
Porsche has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The University of Sydney, graduating with honours. She completed her thesis on an alternative to surgical mulesing and has two pet sheep of her own, which she hand raised from lambs. Her studies in animal nutrition, physiology, genetics and other veterinary subjects, as well as her experience with animal training give Porsche an excellent background to further her passion for animal welfare.
Taking Social Action
Myxomatosis is the leading cause of death for pet bunnies in Australia and there is no cure; however, there is a vaccine which allows a bunny to fight the illness. This is not currently available to pet owners or farmed rabbits in Australia. To help legalise our rights as responsible pet owners, there are many steps individuals can take. The only way to create change is to speak up. Read this article to learn more and see what action you can take.
Porsche’s Rescue believes that by standing by these tenets we can make a difference to small animal welfare. By adopting a rescue pet through us, you are supporting the philosophy of responsible animal ownership.
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