By implementing evidence-based strategies many thousands of treatable and adoptable pets can be saved to find forever homes.

The Facts

  • Currently in Australia, 100,000 treatable and adoptable dogs and cats are killed annually that could be saved by implementing evidence–based strategies that have been proven to save lives. Some shelters and pounds have live release rates of over 90%, while others kill more than every second dog and 85-95% of cats.
  • There is also a significant human cost – 50% of shelter workers directly involved with euthanasia develop health problems (post-traumatic stress leading to depression, substance abuse, high blood pressure), and tragically in some cases, suicide. In USA, the animal rescue sector now has a suicide rate equal to the most traumatising professions – firefighters and police.
  • The issues involved are complex and challenging. However, when multiple evidence-based strategies are applied together, outcomes are dramatically improved for animals and humans, in shelters and pounds.
  • For example, Jacksonville Animal Control received 34,000 dogs and cats annually and killed 23,000 animals (68%), but after implementation of a range of evidence-based strategies, now kill only 2,000 (6%). These results are achievable in all pounds and shelters in Australia.

Our Objectives

  • As a leading organisation and advocate for pet welfare, APWF promotes evidence-based solutions to save the lives of pets and people.
  • Just as modern research has helped to save countless human lives, so too can research aimed at improving the outcomes for homeless and unwanted pets in shelters and pounds.
  • The Australian Pet Welfare Foundation’s (APWF) priorities are to support research into effective strategies to decrease the number of treatable and adoptable dogs and cats euthanased in Australia.
  • We share that knowledge with stakeholders – community, government, welfare agencies, veterinarians, universities, and professional organisations – to initiate policy and legislative changes to save lives

How this research will make a difference

  • This research will benefit pounds, shelters, government and communities by providing solutions to get to zero euthanasia of adoptable and treatable dogs and cats in Australia.

 The Investment

$160,000 will provide essential funds for key research to fill gaps in knowledge, and to assist in sharing that knowledge where it will make the most difference – with key stakeholders in governments, animal welfare agencies and community leaders – to initiate change in policy and legislation, to save lives.