RSPCA Tasmania Newsletter

Spring Edition 

Tenancy laws must change to allow for companion animals...

Go to RSPCA Tasmania web site

Pets are integral members of the Australian family unit and, during the unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic, we’ve become even more attached to our pets.   We have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.

The latest figures show 63% of households have pets, and 53% of those who do not currently own a pet would like to own one in the future. Almost all (91%) of pet owners report feeling ‘very close’ to their pet.    

And we know that most people care for their pets as they care for other members of their family; they look after their health and hygiene, exercise and entertainment; they clean up after them and generally care well for them.  

 In these tough times, people’s circumstances can change rapidly – marriages break up, people lose their jobs or have to move for work, or landlords unexpectedly decide to sell their flat.    We’ve all heard about the shortage of rental properties, so finding a good home to rent can be hard enough – but, when you also have a pet, it can be twice as tricky.    

Some landlords are adamant that pets should not be allowed and some apartment bylaws ban all animals – apart from guide dogs – in their buildings.   

Many tenants report that the experience of searching for a pet-friendly house was very stressful and the inability to secure appropriate accommodation left them with a feeling of housing insecurity.   

Every day, some people are having to make a heartbreaking decision to choose between their pets and being homeless, and many families are  forced  to  surrender  their beloved  pets  to  animal  welfare organisations.     

Yet evidence shows pets can be a lower risk option than children, and that pet owners  are  statistically  more  willing  to  sign  a longer  lease. Pet friendliness adds value, which means more applicants and who may be willing to pay a higher rent.    

Personal responsibility, not pet status, is the key. Just  think  about the  number  of million  dollar  properties  that  have  pets  padding the  hallways without any disastrous effects. With the right pet and a responsible tenant, this reality can be true for any rental property.

And legislation is changing to reflect these facts. New laws have been introduced in most states which basically say that tenants are allowed pets in rental properties. There may be provisions for additional small bonds being charged in the case of any damage, but landlords need to accept this.

As well, many apartments are relaxing their bylaws for suitable pets, like small dogs, cats and reptiles.  

 We’re slow to catch up in Tasmania. Under current laws, if landlords in Tasmania allow pets, the tenant must also arrange for fumigation of the property at the end of the lease. Unlike other states, a separate bond can’t be set aside for this, but it can be written as a condition of the rental agreement.   It is time for our laws to be updated to recognise the important roles pets play in all our lives.

RSPCA Advocacy Agenda

Become a foster carer today...

RSPCA's Foster Care Program provides temporary homes to animals who need a helping hand. This might be because these animals are too small or young to be adopted, recovering from illness or surgery, are undergoing rehabilitation or even just finding the shelter environment too stressful. By placing animals into foster homes, it provides them with the care and support they need until they are ready to be adopted into loving forever homes.

Becoming an RSPCA foster carer is an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable animals.

What are the benefits of foster care for animals?

·  Reduced stress and anxiety (which can occur in the shelter environment).

·  Confidence building and socialisation during critical periods

·  Opportunity for training and living in a home prior to adoption

·  Reduces the risk of becoming unwell or being susceptible to contagious diseases

·  Able to let their true personalities shine in a home environment.

How long is foster care?
Every animal has unique needs, but fostering periods generally range from two weeks to six months.

Do you have the time and space to take care of an animal in need? 

Volunteer today

What is Socially Conscious Sheltering?

The world of animal sheltering is complex and sometimes controversial, with different and emotional views about what is “best practice”. RSPCA Tasmania is one of a growing number of organisations joining the socially conscious sheltering movement, and we believe it represents the current best practice approach to animal sheltering. 

As we work toward accreditation as a socially conscious shelter, RSPCA  believes we have a responsibility to create the best outcomes for animals in our care and the community.


Every single one. Healthy means either having no signs of clinical disease or evidence of disease that has a good or excellent prognosis for a comfortable life. Safe means that the animal has not exhibited behavior that is likely to result in severe injury or death to another animal or person.


An animal’s opportunity to be nurtured, healed and rehomed should not depend on their age or condition—every community must have a shelter that accepts all animals. It is unacceptable to turn animals away because they are too old, sick or broken.


The health and medical needs of animals housed in shelters and rescues must be assessed for disease and injury and treated so the animal does not suffer. These animals must also have their behavioral needs assessed and met, including enrichment sufficient to make them comfortable and to prevent self-destructive, obsessive-compulsive coping behaviors.


Socially Conscious Sheltering is designed to fit the needs of individual communities. Does the community allow trap-neuter-return programs? If so, offer them. Will members of your community adopt animals with chronic disease and are they willing to assume the time and expense of managing that disease? If so, with full disclosure, place them in these homes. Socially Conscious Shelters listen to their communities.


Compassionate euthanasia is a gift. It is not acceptable to let a terminally ill, suffering animal languish in a cage until it dies naturally when compassionate euthanasia can ease that endless pain. It is not acceptable to house a known dangerous animal who cannot be safely placed in the community for years until it goes crazy in a cage. Each euthanasia decision is difficult and taken seriously to ensure the welfare of the individual animal.


Integrating a new pet into your home can be difficult. As adoption agencies, Socially Conscious Shelters have a responsibility to support the adopting family, which, at a minimum, means the shelter will accept the animal back without shaming the adopter. Other ways organizations can provide post-adoption support include behavior advice, classes for new pet caregivers, and addressing shelter-related medical needs. It also means not placing animals into homes that disrupt the human-animal bond by injuring children, other pets and other people. There are many behavior issues that can be addressed through behavior modification and positive experiences. There are other behaviors that are dangerous and cannot be mitigated.


Shelters save lives when animals are moved from a community that does not have homes available, to one that does. However, bringing pets into a community is a responsibility. It is a responsibility to the animals already living in that community to not bring in infectious diseases that would make them sick. It is a responsibility to those living within the community to bring in animals that will live in harmony. And there is a responsibility to the community from which animals are being moved to address that community’s animal welfare struggles through programs such as humane education and spay and neuter.


Socially Conscious Shelters are committed to full transparency, including reporting accurate statistics, sharing policies and fully and quickly admitting when mistakes are made. Integrity must be the foundation of all decisions. Every shelter can learn something from every other shelter—it is important to be curious and to share innovative solutions to common problems. Only by working together can we ensure the best outcomes for all animals.

Australia needs pet food standards...

Twenty four dogs have died in Victoria over recent months as a result of contaminated pet meat, with at least another 44 suffering from severe liver disease. While retailers have recalled the toxic meat, authorities are concerned more dogs could die if pet owners still have the contaminated pet food in their freezers at home.  

Test results showed the horse meat from Northern Territory was contaminated with indospicine, which is a naturally occurring toxin found in an Australian native plant species called indigofera.  

Indospicine can build up in the tissue of some grazing animals when they eat the plants. Indospicine toxicity has not previously been reported in Victoria but has been reported in northern Australia when dogs eating horse or camel meat were affected. 

Vets advise there is no cure for this toxin. Once the damage is done, it's done. The only options for affected animals are palliative care, including supportive therapies such as fluids and anti-inflammatories.  

An investigation by Victorian government agencies has determined that no laws were broken and there was no noncompliance by the processor. 

Currently, there are no enforceable rules governing pet food standards. There is a voluntary Australian pet food industry standard for ingredients, processing and product quality assurance, but that standard is not audited. The lack of a mandated recall process when pet food problems have been identified has also exacerbated adverse events in which pets have suffered from life-threatening illnesses. 

The regulation of pet food has been a talking point for years, with a senate inquiry into the issue in 2018.  

A report on how Australia can better regulate pet food is expected to be handed down soon, almost three years after a national working group was established for the task. The report will then be considered by state and territory agriculture ministers. 

All of the members of the working group who advocate for pets have agreed that the only effective way to address the issue of pet food safety in Australia is to implement federal government regulation and a mandatory standard for the manufacturing, marketing and safety of pet food.  

This includes the RSPCA, the Australian Veterinary Association, and the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia. 

These groups have all expressed concerns that the responsibility and decision on this important issue is being shifted from the federal government to the state and territory governments. This will cause more delays and inevitably result in inconsistent regulation across the country. 

Pets are much-loved family members The consequences of losing a beloved companion to unsafe pet food are profound and long lasting. This process has already taken too long. The time to act is now before any more Australian pets become ill and die. 

Oakey has found his furever home...

Oakey was surrendered to one of our inspectors during a welfare visit, in February. 29 weeks later and after a couple of false starts, our good boy Oakey finally went home. The adoption was the last official duty our retiring animal care centre manager, Lorraine Hamilton, performed and her delight was evident. We think this is a match made in heaven and wish Oakey every doggy happiness imaginable. We also thank his human for driving from Hobart to seal the deal. A happy day indeed!

Enjoy the spring,

RSPCA Tasmania CEO Jan Davis

To learn more, give us a call on 67090 8100 visit

Petbarn Foundation

RSPCA Tasmania Ltd

PO Box 66 Mowbray. Tasmania  7248   P: 03 6709 8100

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