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RSPCA Million Paws Walk Q & A

RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk is set to be unleashed May 15, 2016. Walk participants raise funds for the RSPCA to support their shelters and their mission to end animal cruelty. Josh Pickham, marketing coordinator of the event, spoke to us about how the walk began and new additions you can expect to see on the walk.

The RSPCA ACT Million Paws Walk is taking place on Sunday 15th May! For the first time ever we’re having ‘Paw-lymic Games’. Does your furry friend have what it takes to win gold? Register now: #rspcaact #rspca #millionpawswalk #gold #canberra #act #cute #puppy #athlete #chihuahua

A photo posted by RSPCA ACT (@rspca_act) on

Q. Why do you think the Millions Paws Walk is so successful?
A. MPW is successful because it is such a fun day out for dog owners. We like to think it is the best doggy day out of the year. We have so many activities for dogs, giveaways, music, great stalls and a really positive atmosphere for those in attendance. Our walk locally is one of the biggest in Australia so we Canberrans really love coming along each and every year.
Q. How many participants do you expect on the day?
A. We are expecting approximately 7,000 participants with around 2,500 dogs.
Q. How did the Million Paws Walk begin?
A. It was an event that started out of Victoria. It was such a success that has now been run across the nation. We have been running it for over 15 years locally.
Q. This year will be the debut of the ‘PAW-lympics’. What should participants expect?
A. A lot of fun and excitement. This is the first year that we have run our PAW-lympic Games. Events include hurdles, sprinting, weightlifting, steeplechase and more. It will be great to see dogs and their owners participating together in these challenges.
Q. The target for this years fundraising in Canberra is set to $50,000. How are these targets set?
A. The funding target is based off previous years fundraising totals. This has increased because we have seen a large number of animals come in through our inspectorate. It keeps growing. It is very expensive to continue this work as there are a lot of medical costs and additional care that needs to happen with these types of animals. We continue to do this work because it is a part of our mission.
Q. Where does the money actually go?
A. Money goes to a range of things. Keeping our inspectors on the road, veterinary treatment, desexing, microchipping, daily care, environmental enrichment for the animals and animal training. On average it costs us $20 per day, per animal, to care for them. This doesn’t even include medical costs. At our shelter we see a huge amount of animals in our care. It sure adds up. Our budget is around $60,000 a week to keep the shelter in operation (to put it in perspective). You can see our financial records on our website.
Q. What motivates you to support the cause?
A. The work that we do for animals motivates my support for the cause. Animals come in such a poor condition and seeing them be rehabilitated… It is amazing to see the transformations. A lot of these animals are defenceless and rely on us to care for them. It is shocking to see how they are treated.
In addition we work with so many different animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, rats, birds, poultry, snakes, lizards, guinea pigs, livestock and so many more. Our team here is very dedicated and achieves amazing results for animal welfare here locally.
Q. Has there been a significant case of animal cruelty that you have dealt with which has further motivated your work with the RSPCA?
A. One of the worst cases has to be an animal called Devon – the Doberman. I have never seen an animal so close to death.
Q. How does Canberra compare to the rest of Australia in regards to the rates of animal cruelty?
A. Cruelty in the ACT is increasing significantly.
*According to the RSPCA national statistics in the year 2014-2015 RSPCA Canberra investigated 2235 animal cruelty complaints. This is the lowest number of all states and territories in Australia. The highest number of animal cruelty complaints for that year was a staggering 18,499 held by Queensland.
It’s not too late to register for The Million Paws Walk, for more information you can go to their website.
By Bec Lawrence

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