Posts Tagged ‘animal welfare’

PROTECTING CHILDREN IS THE JOB OF EVERY AUSTRALIAN

July 31, 2016

Reporting suspected child abuse for many reasons might feel hard to do, but remaining silent  is so much worse.

child abuse

Silence is not golden when it comes to our children, especially the most vulnerable.

We as parents, grandparents and as adults need to be open to the signs of abuse and follow our natural instincts.

“In a most cases children don’t make direct disclosures, so we have to look for signs, and if we see any, for the child’s sake err on the side of caution and speak up.” Says Mark Aldridge

Child safety MUST remain the priority at all times.

“They might say, ‘This happened to a friend’ as a way to test the reaction of the person they want to tell. They want to assess whether they will be believed and whether the adult will stand up for them.

“Trust your gut. If you feel that something is not right, seek out support. It is difficult; people are often reluctant to contact the authorities due to a misguided fear of breaking up a family unit.

“If you have even a suspicion that something is wrong, it’s better to call than not call the authorities and voice your concerns, if not open up to friends and family for support to act.

“You don’t know who else might have already made a report” –a teacher, a doctor, a neighbour might have also spoken up. All those accounts help child protection specialists understand the full picture. You are adding your piece of the puzzle to that picture.”

“As a society we have moved away from the idea that the family unit is somehow a sacrosanct, closed space which we’re not allowed to enter. If we believe a child is at risk, we must act.”

Children are often scared to speak up, despite improved awareness about child abuse, so we must be their voice.

“For children, there is improved education in schools now about approaching a trusted adult, a teacher or a school counsellor,” so if they approach you, then you must act in a timely and compassionate manner.

“When there is abuse in the home it can be very hard for a child to go forward to anyone because they are worried about breaking up the family or being punished. Often the child feels as if they are to blame.”

Professionals such as teachers, health care workers and police have a legal obligation to report suspected abuse. I believe this should be applied to every adult in this country and all over the world.

Until we have a legal obligation, let our moral one lead the way, and let’s wipe out child abuse and continue on to demand heavier penalties to deter any future abhorrent behavior.

Mark Aldridge “Community Advocate” Public officer of S.C.A.A.T. (Stop Child Abuse Australia Team)

Makin candidate, Mark Aldridge, most in touch with his electorate.

June 30, 2016

Mark Aldridge Independent for Makin, is winning the grass roots support in his electorate, based on his representation on Social Media, and grass roots work in his electorate.

Mark 3

Marks recent media releases which paint a clear picture of where he stands on a variety of political topics, the very same topics. recent polls say are supported by the voters in his electorate.

“Protecting our Farmers and producers is one thing, but my position is the farms themselves are strategic assets, and ought not to be for sale to foreign interests” says Mark

Mr. Aldridge runs several farmers markets which service his electorate “Farm Direct” community markets, in Salisbury heights and Lights view, also spending years setting up and supporting other markets in the north, including his first major market in Parafield.

The markets are simply my attempt to bring change at a grass roots level, they were never set us as a political ploy, they are there to simply support my community and the local producers themselves.

“I grew up in the North, in Parafield Gardens, and now live in Penfield amongst the farmers, so uniting them both has been a tremendous success” says Mark

One of the great things about my advocacy work in the north is that I spend much of my time in the electorate chatting with the community, so I feel very connected to them. I believe this is why I have such great support and such a detailed understanding of their needs at a grass roots level.

When asked about recent media articles, Mark said “I have never been very popular with the media to be honest” they at times seem as out of touch with the people as the major party candidates. The election debate coverage so far between the supposed leaders, clearly shows they have no idea what change the public care even calling for.

Real jobs, securing our primary production sector, improved support for our pensioners and veterans are not on the agenda, in fact my opponents in Makin, are still calling for increased immigration and foreign aid, obviously little do they realise, the public do not agree.

The only issue my support is facing is a hostile media, who as usual, feel they have a right to dictate both the policy’s to be debated and restrict coverage to their favoured candidates.

“Makin voters should know me well enough by now to know what I stand for, sadly those that don’t will probably be swayed by media propaganda, rather than any open debate on the topics of concern. Even the Messenger press have refrained from letting their readers know who is running, which is very sad for local democracy”. Mark said.

Once the election is over, regardless of the outcome, I will still be here for the community and continue to work in their best interests, so losing an election only affects the resources I have to do my job. I will still be looking for ways to improve services and opportunities for the voters of Makin, long after the other candidates disappear for another few years.

 

Written by Mark Aldridge in the absence of any journos that are allowed to write about me J

Mark Aldridge Submission on RSPCA WA “Parliamentary inquiry”

July 2, 2015

My name is Mark Aldridge; I own an animal sanctuary and have a very very strong interest in animal welfare legislation and its reform.

Having studied the actions of the RSPCA both in Australia and the UK, which has involved ongoing investigations, involvement in prosecutions and the study of past court actions throughout Australia, I feel it both pertinent to supply the WA parliament with a submission and offer to address any questions raised as a result of its inclusion.

I have met with many WA stake holders, local sanctuary’s and shelters, attended several court cases, and met and interviewed past and present RSPCA employees, inspectors, board members. I have liaised with departmental staff and read the briefs pertaining to many RSPCA instigated prosecutions.

I have done the same in many states of Australia over the past 4 years, and have compiled and read thousands of pages of documents and FOI documents, most of which pertain to WA animal welfare case.

In brief the RSPCA as many know, they were formed initially to protect the best interests of animals, in today’s world they have expanded into a huge corporate interest, a very powerful one at that, from running shelters, extensive fundraising programs, powers of prosecution throughout Australia, to profiting from the sale of most animal related products even food.

Unfortunately for animals and their owners, whether than be farmed, companion or native animals, as the RSPCA have grown, scrutiny of how they have grown and how they have used their increase powers has not.

Even though Western Australian law does have the best procedural guidelines in place to ensure a fair and equitable use of awarded powers under animal welfare legislation, if those powers are neither defined or policed, abuse of power can be expected.

In Australia we have animal welfare legislation to protect those without a voice, the power to police animal welfare law is vested with 3 organisations, local councils, police services and the Royal Society for the protection of animals, with the later seen as the law, by most organisations, even the courts themselves.

The shocking fact is neither the legislation, the procedural guidelines nor the structural integrity of adequate prosecution policy is being upheld, by the department or those empowered by it.

Prosecutions under the Animal welfare Act 2002 must meet a certain criteria, they must be initiated by an appointed officer/inspector, not a private entity, they must meet the Department of Agriculture and Food’s procedural guidelines by way of meeting a number of assessment criteria’s, and then be signed off by the Director General and the government’s solicitors.

The pertinent question here is why have most recent actions/prosecutions been able to continue when they have met none of these safeguards, let alone any of the criteria applied to other government empowered officers.

In the most recent case after over 16 months of supposed litigation, the courts themselves were still demanding information from the prosecution, which just happens to be the RSPCA who we all know have no legal right to even bring charges in the first place.

I will overview one case “RSPCA WA V’s May” which has resulted in illegal seizure of animals, the unwarranted destruction of many of these innocent animals, and costs sought of near 1 million dollars from the innocent party. There are many other cases both in WA and in other states of Australia that have indeed grabbed the attention of the authorities, yet to date those empowered to ensure awarded powers are wielded with equity, have chosen to sit back and see what happens, ignoring their mandate to act in a timely manner and to protect innocent parties, the carers or the innocent animals they ought to protect.

So this inquiry before parliament best go beyond the actions of the RSPCA and address how powers under the animal welfare act are both awarded and applied.

The Department of Agriculture and food in WA, who administer the Animal Welfare Act of 2002, is the very department that appoint inspectors, yet they appear to be allowing them free reign, even when they are made aware of any abuse of power.

The ministers appoint inspectors under the legislation, awarding powers akin those of the police, yet appear to turn a blind eye to how those powers are used and abused, by the very inspectors they appoint.

The RSPCA pay these inspectors through direct funding from the government on behalf of the Taxpayer, but who do they work for, do they work for the minister to act in the best interests of the people in the protection of all animals under animal welfare law, or do they work for the RSPCA to protect the royal society’s financial and pecuniary interests?

The answer to this important questions was answered by the courts recently in WA, with the adjudicator coming as I do, to the conclusion that inspectors are indeed working for DAFWA

The case in question came from the Freedom Of Information Commissioner published 8/12/14 and referred to the case in question.

The RSPCA have no powers under the animal welfare act, none what so ever, this has been proven time after time, and recently confirmed by the Honourable Ken Baston MLC in recent correspondence and by way of interpretation of most Animal welfare legislation across Australia.

Yet prosecutions all over Australia are brought by the RSPCA in their name, in every case in WA these prosecutions are invalid at law, because the RSPCA do not have the right to bring a private prosecution, other states of Australia are not protected at all.

The only people empowered by animal welfare legislation to act on behalf of the government to administer the legislation are inspectors and authorised officers themselves, and there are procedural guidelines in place to ensure any powers used are in line with community expectations, to ensure they are just, transparent and accountable.

In WA the guidelines are found under a separate piece of legislation called the DAFWA Compliance, Enforcement and prosecution policy.

In fact any animals seized under animal welfare legislation, or indeed any animal forfeitured through the courts, become the property of the crown, they become under care of the state, not the RSPCA.

Therefore it is the minster that must answer for the actions of the inspectors, and is in control in relation to the destiny of seized and forfeiture animals in the RSPCA’s care. The minster and the director of the department have the ability to award such powers, to define them and even take them away, so any misuse of power falls firmly in their laps.

In WA whether it is the police or the inspectors appointed by the minister to act on the peoples behalf, they must comply with Compliance, enforcement and prosecution policy, before they use their powers to bring prosecutions of any kind.

The concept here is to ensure they promote consistent enforcement actions across all sections of government policy; it is to guide and assist officers in the performance of their functions, encourage a pro-active compliance approach where staff are confident and supported in their roles.

It is here we find a total absence in relation to adherence to policy, with the RSPCA themselves deciding the rolls of the inspectors, and even bringing actions against members of the public in the name of the RSPCA itself, which is nothing more than a total abuse of power, in fact abuse of the court process, because the RSPCA are not empowered to do so.

I will break from procedural issues to high light a pertinent issue related to both government funding the expectations by the RSPCA for the receipt of such funding.

The Department of Agriculture recently awarded the RSPCA with a massive grant in exchange for the RSPCA turning away from the agriculture sector, in particular the export industry. I believe this means the RSPCA were paid by government to ask government officers (RSPCA Inspectors) to turn a blind eye to their legislative mandate, for financial gain?

In WA private prosecutions are not allowed at any level, so any document filed in the courts in the name of the RSPCA ought never to have been accepted, where that action involves charges of any kind.

This raises a raft of important issues for the inquiry to consider, and for the members to take back to their party rooms, because the time I have spent in the WA courts have seen me witness a culture of “The RSPCA WA must know best” immediately undermining due process.

(Recent appeals to higher courts may better clarify this situation)

Cost efficiency and public interest are currently not taken into account in direct conflict with DAFWA procedural guidelines; one has to ask, if the minister or the government condone such actions, or were actually unaware?

In the absence of enforceable policy and procedural guidelines we see a tendency of taking all charges to court, where even little evidence exists, even where the offence is trivial or technical, or an alternate strategy could deliver a better overall outcome, and this is well known by the department to not be in the public interest, and is not effective use of public moneys, a question the minister in charge ought to answer.

The major issue that arises as a result of the minister and the departments turning a blind eye, is the ability of the RSPCA itself to bring charges and then use the court process for financial gain, in fact in most cases studies, abuse of process is the modes operandi, with cases dragged out until a respondent is out of money. The RSPCA can then arrange a one sided plea bargain tactic to illicit huge costs. The society’s books themselves in many states show these prosecution practices as a major money winner, something that doesn’t come close to fulfilling community expectations.

In the past couple of years, a variety of RSPCA senior staff have quit or have been fired as a result of questioning these tactics, and are more than willing to front an enquiry, yet to blame the Society for all these issues, overlooks the fact that it is DAFWA and the minister who have allowed this to happen.

Every animal seized is in their name, every animal euthanized is done so with their consent, and every animal forfeitured under the legislation is forfeitured to the minister, so many questions are now deserving of answers.

If the animals seized by the RSPCA and on sold, has that money been rightfully handed over to the minister/taxpayer?

If the RSPCA are allowed by the minister to bring charges, and they fail, it ought to be the minister that coughs up, on behalf of the public, but are the public being made aware of any of this?

In recent times DAFWA have coughed up in compensation out of the tax payers purse, so one would think they would be placing more scrutiny on those bringing charges in on their behalf, even more so when the department are well aware that this is an ongoing problem.

In the case of the RSPCA V May, animals were seized from a woman who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their rescue, in the most these were healthy animals, some were undergoing medical treatment, and others had just been rescued, raising the question of the minister, is it now illegal for individuals to rescue animals, or has the minister awarded that right solely to the RSPCA?

If not for the personal enquiries of Mrs may herself, the department responsible for administration of the law, would never have become involved, and now that they are aware, why did they not step in, is a question every Western Australian should be asking.

This seizure did not meet with the compliance and enforcement policy, the first charges were invalid and therefore dropped and new charges laid, it could be said even these new charged are invalid at law, and in neither case were the procedural guidelines met, in fact the RSPCA continue to totally ignore DAFWA policy, as if they are above the law.

The RSPCA refused to take the animals medication when they seized them or even converse with the animal’s veterinarian, why? Is the animal welfare act still about the best interests of the animals, because I am sure community expectations are that it ought to be.

The RSPCA’s first port of call before the seizure took place was the media, so was this seizure al bout fund raising publicity? If they indeed knew that had made a mistake from the onset, was it too late as a result of the media being on site, to do the right thing?

After 4 months of having this woman’s animals, the legislation is clear that they should then be returned, and the State government Administrative tribunal all but ordered this to occur, but the RSPCA could not comply, as they had killed many of the animals.

The RSPCA then pressed criminal charges against Mrs May, not only did they have no right to start a private prosecution, but even in the event an inspector decided to press such charges, why were they able to do so, without the ministers permission?

I note the minster and the director general had their own staff in attendance, so I sincerely hope they are not going to pull the “We didn’t know this was happening” card.

All of these animals at law have been seized with the minsters consent, so it is up to the minster to explain why they had been seized, why they were been killed and why they were not been returned.

This is only one example of abuse of powers by the RSPCA WA, with over 40 similar cases identified in the past 5 years alone.

After 16 months the original prosecution was dropped against Mrs. May and all new charges were pressed, yet once again, DAFWA policy was again ignored, the costs being sort by the RSPCA against Mrs May are fast approaching 1 million dollars, begging the question how the minster believes these costs are in line with his department’s policy.

I shall take this opportunity to remind parliament of the departments Compliance, enforcement and prosecution policy.

The department’s policy starts off with the most basic guidelines, openness and transparency, consistency, and cost efficiency and public interest criteria.

2.2 enforcement criteria takes into account whether there has been a failure to comply with any formal requests, lawful direction or notice given by an inspector or authorised officer.

Starting here alone, Mrs May was never given and formal directions, after the seizure of one animal, a rabbit of all things, she phoned the RSPCA over and over asking what more she could do to comply, having already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on vet bills alone, she was more than willing to do whatever was needed to comply with any directions the RSPCA may have made.

I will continue with this case, as it mimics the way in which the RSPCA have been using their powers all over Australia in the last decade.

Mrs May had complied with all local government inspections, inspections by officers of the local government empowered under the very same animal welfare legislation that seeks to empower the RSPCA officers.

Mrs May had no history of noncompliance, the public interest ideals were never applied, and at no time did the RSPCA or its officers provide support or indeed even guidelines to meet, they returned several days later with a warrant for the wrong address, Mrs May still allowed them access to the right address, where they seized every animal, even those in perfect health, why was this allowed, how did the minster believe this was in the public’s or the animals best interests?

The only precedent set by these actions is to deter the public from taking the rescue of injured or dumped animals into their own hands, in direct conflict with the animal welfare act and community expectations.

Where was the written warning, expected under the policy guidelines, there were no administrative sanctions, and at no stage were the principles of prosecution applied.

I will throw in here a vital word “Intent” how in hell can any person have their animals seized and criminal charges applied, when their only intent was to rescue and rehabilitate injured or abused animals, let alone by the very organisation the public help fund to do the very same task?

I hope Parliament after this inquiry consider the missing word “Intent” when writing any welfare related legislation.

It is without doubt DAFWA’s job to ensure the inspectors they empower under their legislation are working in the best interests of the department and its own guidelines, and I can see nowhere in this particular case or any recent prosecutions where this has been happening.

If indeed the minister does not step in when appropriate and a prosecution is lost, the costs involved will have to be met by the minister, and I am sure the taxpayer s will not be very happy at all.

3.5 Public interest

A; The seriousness or triviality of the offence, or that is of a technical nature only.

The RSPCA response month after they illegally started litigation in their corporate name, was that this was a serious offence, that Mrs may kept the animal in filthy conditions

Interestingly the animals were seized from temporary enclosures while the original areas were being renovated as a result of the RSPCA telling Mrs May days earlier they were not happy with the accommodation, and in respect video evidence clearly shows the RSPCA’s statement here to be incorrect and obviously out of time in respect to compliance procedures.

It would be worthy so say that in the May case, the woman was simply rescuing animals with the support of several local veterinarians and the local council, if the issue was the amount of animals, then advice could have been given, notices issued or support offered. The case is trifling in nature as a direct result of no malice or intent to cause harm.

B; Any Mitigating or aggravated circumstances

The RSPCA’s response when DAFWA noticed they had side stepped legislative protocol was that Mrs May doesn’t believe in routine vaccinations and flea treatments, a statement that disregards any facts.

Mrs May has extensive records that show clear intent to vaccinate and treat for fleas, with veterinarian receipts in the tens of thousands in the past few years alone, which were she offered to show the RSPCA inspectors

C; The age, mental ability, physical health, mental health or special infirmity of the alleged offenders or a witness.

DAFWA have already confirmed that Mrs May had the capabilities to look after the animals in her care, as this 72 year old has the support of leading veterinarians, an at call worker and the support of the Animal protection society president.

Never forgetting all of these animals would be dead if not for Marianna Mays actions.

D; The alleged offender’s previous history, in relation to the relevant compliance activity.

The RSPCA marked this section as N/A

Mrs May has been carrying our animal rescue for over a decade without any performance issues or complaints from any parties, if the RSPCA had issued orders of any kind, Mrs May would have complied, no orders had ever been sought, and no previous complaints of any kind exist.

E; The degree of culpability of the alleged offender in connection with the offence.

No offence under the act was sighted; the very fact animals with health concerns were on the property was the direct result of rescues, not the adverse actions of the animal rescuer.

F; The effect on public order

Mrs May by way of taking feral, sick and injured animals of the street and housing and treating them

 

G; whether the prosecution would be perceived as counterproductive, for example bringing the law into disrepute.

The RSPCA’s response after the fact, was that the public would be horrified if Mrs May was not prosecuted, given the number of animals and the level of neglect

Mrs May had every rescued animal vet checked and treated without regard to cost, the RSPCA refused to look at the records for these animals, refused to speak with her vets, and also refused to take the medication the sick animals were prescribed.

For a charity with no powers of prosecution, to prosecute at law a person preforming a community service could only be seen as counterproductive, and an abuse of process at law, which not only brings the law into disrepute, but undermines public confidence in the Department of Agriculture and Food, and its application of animal welfare legislation.

H; The ability and efficiency of any alternate to prosecution.

The RSPCA in their statement after the fact claimed “Civil application for the forfeiture of the animals was an option”

The RSPCA did not apply for a forfeiture order, opting to keep the animals in inadequate enclosures that by their own admissions, causing over 20% to be killed by the society, all the while charging Mrs May between $40,000 and $50,000 per month for storage and veterinary costs.

In many cases Australia wide, holding animals where it becomes a financial benefit to do so, an issues that best be taken of the table.

Support, assistance, or even compliance orders all remain better alternatives, the RSPCA took no other steps other than seizure and heavy handed prosecution, no orders that only (x) amount of animals are to remain on the property, no orders that enclosures are modified, no orders that no more animals are rescued, no orders that all animals are rehomed above a certain number in an allotted time period. I assume there are many alternatives to seizure, destruction and criminal prosecution, yet none were entertained by the RSPCA or their inspectors.

Of the 40 or more case studies I have reviewed, the RSPCA in most states and in all cases in WA, not once did the Society play a proactive role in respect to the best interests of the animals or their carers. I remind the panel that education is a key role in the RSPCA’s applications for public funding.

The legislation itself at 40 (1), 47 (d) (j) can make a variety of orders to ensure compliance in any set time period, no such orders were made.

I; The prevalence of the alleged offence and the need for deterrence (including the likely deterrent value of the prosecution.

The RSPCA’s reply months after initiating an invalid and non-compliant prosecution, was that Mrs May was an animal hoarder, yet in the section asking about mental illness they replied N/A, They went on to say Mrs May did not have the means to care for large numbers of animals, even though proof to the contrary was offered at the first visit by the RSPCA officers, and later confirmed by DAFWA.

Why would an animal welfare authority or purported rescue organisation wish to deter public support in the rescue and rehoming of animals, if not for personal empowerment?

J; whether the alleged offence is of considerable public/environmental concern.

The RSPCA’s attempt to cover their mistakes resulted in an answer here of “Considerable public concern given the number of animals involved.

Rescuing animals, keeping them in adequate enclosures and ensuring they have the best veterinarian services and top quality food and bedding, should be of no concern to the public, other than any actions to the contrary, which in itself brings the actions of the RSPCA into further disrepute.

K; Any entitlement of DAFWA or other person/body to compensation, reparation or forfeiture if a prosecution is secured.

The RSPCA wrote of this section after the fact once again, by saying “The RSPCA is only entitled to reimbursement of its expenditure”

Cost before the final prosecution notice was served, (16 months after seizure) exceeded $750,000. Indeed well beyond acceptable practice and equity. These costs increased at around $45,000 a month, while the RSPCA have not even applied to the courts for forfeiture, noting here the costs sought are well beyond the true costs to the society.

Where the society cannot confirm ability to pay costs, prosecutions are plead out early and the cases used as a fund raising campaign to re-coupe costs and to improve profits.

L: The likely length and expense of a trial (if disproportionate to the seriousness of the offence)

One would think the possibility a 2 year long process, an estimated 14 day trial and a 1 million dollars costs order, would well exceed justification of the supposed offence, of rescuing animals and ensuring their professional veterinarian support and housing costs.

In the case of the RSPCA V May, the initial issue of the warrant was not in line with standard procedures, the initial charges were in valid at law, and the subsequent charges laid over 14 months later are still yet to be supported by evidence, and in neither case did either charges attract the legislative scrutiny required under DAFWA’s policy and enforcement procedures.

M; whether the alleged offender is willing to co-operate in the investigation or prosecution of others, or to the extent to which the offender has done so.

The alleged offender Mrs May, at all times has offered to do whatever is needed to comply, the only stand she has taken is one of protection of the animals, which has not occurred, the only offence easily seen during the whole process is the destruction of once healthy animals by the RSPCA itself.

N; The likely outcome in the event of a finding of guilt having regard to the sentencing options available to the court.

The court under the Animal welfare legislation only has available in regards to sentencing the ability to restrict the alleged offender from owning animals, and the ability of the courts to an order of forfeiture of the remaining animals to the crown, which would result in increased costs for the RSPCA and in fact the minster, and the added costs of another entity to take over the rescue of the animals presently being handled my Mrs may.

O: The Necessity to maintain public confidence in DAFWA and the courts; and

P; The potential financial benefit the alleged offender stands to make from the illegal activity.

The case of May, undermines the public confidence to both DAFWA and the courts, the alleged offender has never profited from her actions, and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what can be considered work of DAFWA under the Animal welfare legislation, by way of the rescue of animals at her own expense.

If the RSPCA try to paint any alleged offender as an animal hoarder, then they would have to justify this when questioned about their mental state. No options of support are being offered which would be necessary under a genuine application to precede with a prosecution under DAFWAS procedural guidelines.

Note; Animal hoarding is not covered by the animal welfare act, the act is written to deal with animal welfare related issues, not mental health concerns, the act also does not determine how many animals any one person can own. Issues relating to the number of animals a person my own or house is a local Government Issue. Note; Mrs May has passed recent inspections by the local government.

The RSPCA were asked by DAFWA to supply information to ensure they have complied with these guidelines after the fact, not before any prosecution took place, or animals were indeed seized.

This in itself has become a regular abuse of process, in the May case the reply from the RSPCA already on DAFWA’s files clearly is misleading in its structure and wording, and I believe DAFWA already know this, and by their silence and the turning of a blind eye, resulting in breach of their mandate.

3.7 of the policy guidelines clearly states “After due consideration of all matters identified in these procedures, the investigating officer , will refer the brief of evidence and supporting reports, documentation and recommendations to the director with the responsibility for the administration of the relevant legislation. The director will forward endorse briefs and recommendations to their executive director for referral to the solicitor’s office.

Why has this never been complied with in any prosecutions?

The investigating officer, the relevant director, and the states solicitors’ office will discuss and agree upon the most appropriate charges to be laid.

Why are these important guidelines being ignored?

None of the procedures at 3.7 were complied with, there for has been ignored in every essence of its purpose, the RSPCA who have no powers under the act, bring prosecution’s against an alleged offender without the powers to do so, and the inspectors who sign off on the prosecution notices have continued to deliberately ignored policy and procedure guidelines.

(The previous chief inspector in WA has confirmed the aforementioned issues and was sacked for bringing them up) For DAFWA not to act and stop invalid prosecutions, is a total disregard to written legislation and policy guidelines, actions that disregard public interest, undermining the departments and indeed the courts public perception.

3.9; Decision to withdraw matters already before the courts.

DAFWA indeed have the ability to withdraw charges, but they have never taken that opportunity even when they ought to do so, based solely on the non-compliance with the policy and enforcement guidelines. The director general is best placed to do this, in the best interests of natural justice.

I note here correspondence from the minister “the Honourable Ken Baston MLC” makes it clear the RSPCA are not a legal entity with the authority under the animal welfare legislation, in his words “I acknowledge that it is general inspectors employed by the RSPCA and NOT the RSPCA that is the legal entity with the authority under the Animal Welfare Act 2002”.

It would be pertinent to note that the prosecutions taking place both in WA and in other states of Australia are indeed in the name of the RSPCA, given WA’s present legislation that restricts private prosecutions, any actions brought in the name of the RSPCA are therefore invalid at law.

The very fact that in Mrs Mays case that the prosecution is in the RSPCA’s name, rendered the original 15 month prosecution invalid, a prosecution that had ignored DAFWA’s policy’s in the first place, furthermore the replacement prosecution has not only continued to disregarded current DAFWA policy and procedures guidelines, but has effectively more so continued to abuse court process.

In correspondence received under freedom of information, Mr. Delane makes it clear that the RSPCA have breached the conditions awarded to their inspectors in this case. Mr Delane states “Review of the material provided by the RSPCA to date indicates that their processes and/or understanding of the legislation were inadequate (insufficient grounds to seize some of the animals, failure to notify the owner of deaths or destructions ect) in dealing with this matter”

Further comments from Mr Delane in statements obtained include “Medical histories and behavioural assessments provided by the RSPCA do not appear to support the contention that all of the animals destroyed were suffering so severely that destroying them would be the humane thing to do” casting severe doubts on the actions of the RSPCA in this case.

The department has proven by its words and actions that it is well aware of the RSPCA’s continued ignorance, they are aware of the noncompliance by the inspectors awarded powers by them, the non-adherence to the department’s compliance, enforcement and procedural guidelines. I can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the department is also aware of the effect all these mistakes are having on an innocent woman’s health and wellbeing and the resulting destruction of once healthy and happy animals, which is in direct conflict with the legislation it is empowered to administer.

Mrs May was never found guilty of any of the charges laid by the society, and all charges have since been dropped, many if not all of her animals have since been destroyed, making an equitable outcome impossible to ensure. This issue becomes worse when we consider that the RSPCA purport to have been unaware that a number of animals were under veterinary care at the time of their seizure, even though Mrs May’s own vet had contacted them immediately after their removal from the property.

It could be proven that it was the actions of the RSPCA themselves and their inspectors that have caused more cruelty to these animals, than any actions Mrs May took in relation to their rescue and rehabilitation in the first instance.

I also concur with Mr. Delanes comment that the RSPCA took no steps before or even to date (17 months after seizure) to ask the courts for forfeiture, amounting to an abuse of the court process and indeed disregarding the animals best interests.

This fact appears to support the concept that the RSPCAS themselves are using the court process to improve their financial position rather than any attempt to protect the best interests of the animals or their rescuer. At this stage the RSPCA are demanding the huge sum of over $45,000 per month, plus veterinarian and legal costs.

There are several other practices that are uncovered when we take even a brief look at this case, in regard’s to the actions of the RSPCA, the one that sticks in my mind is the use of a warrant to break into Mrs Mays home, not only the fact it was incorrectly addressed in the first instance, but more so the use of forced entry when Mrs May was not home, which I find poor compliance practice.

The RSPCA were on Mrs Mays property around 4 or 5 days earlier, yet never chose the option to obtain an urgent warrant to enter her premises which is an available resource under the Act, and at all times since the initial visit, Mrs May had attempted to work with them, as did her veterinarians. If there was no urgency in the first place, waiting until Mrs May was absent from the property then using a general warrant to force entry is not in line with correct procedures under the Act.

Since I have taken an interest in this cases from the perspective of animal welfare reform, it has come to my attention that the RSPCA;s departure from its core directives, and in fact the Ministers lack of action in ensuring legislated guidelines are being met, are not restricted to the May case.

My advice for what it is worth would be for the Department of Agriculture and food, to consider a review of the RSPCA’s practices and indeed the powers awarded to its inspectors and their application thereof.

To ensure the solicitor general is empowered to ensure compliance with legislative and departmental guidelines, powers of prosecution best be handed back to the government to initiate using the RSPCA in an investigative manner only.

Should this inquiry decide to do nothing, they are therefore giving the RSPCA a mandate to continue to ignore the law, abuse their awarded powers and bring prosecutions that do not comply with government or just standards.

I would like to finish by praying that this enquiry in some way can consider ensuring Mrs May’s right to justice, and to remind them of the rights of all the innocent animals that reply on a compassionate, equitable and just outcome.

 

Mark Aldridge

How to become the enemy of Oscars Law “Debra Tranter”

June 28, 2015

HOW TO BECOME THE ENEMY OF OSCARS LAW

As a supporter of Oscars law and being in the animal rescue, meant nothing, my years supporting shelters and rescue groups, or even my parliamentary submissions on the issue of breeding, which all support Oscars Laws ideals, could not save me.

So how does one become the enemy of Debra Tranter, and what happens if you find yourself in that position you might ask.

I made a comment on Oscar’s law’s Face Book page, something I had done before in support, and the comment was not even against Oscar’s law, my comment was to protect innocent children, that became my big mistake, one that has led to years of attacks on my good name.

Hundreds of tweets by Tranter calling me anything from a child abuser, animal murderer, and even a paedophile, that went on for nearly 2 years, and to this day, I still endure attacks by her supporters every time I succeed in the animal welfare arena.

It appears I am no longer allowed to run my sanctuary, rescue animals or lobby government for animal welfare related reform, because every time I do, the calls and Face Book attacks on myself and my family and re-ignited.

You see a woman was taken to court and convicted of animal cruelty, I knew the whole story, but that is not important, what was important to me, was the result of Oscars Law’s on line overview, where people were calling for attacks on the woman in question.

People were driving past her rural property making threats, and the woman had two young disadvantaged children, and they were terrified, so I made a huge mistake, and commented on the post asking people not to take a vigilante approach because there were young children on site, that’s it, and to be honest, I would probably do the same thing again, even knowing how much damage it would do to my good name and the political aspirations I had at the time.

The whole story about the woman and the charges are irrelevant to this blog, but are on my website as an overview of how the law works, but in saying that, the courts had passed judgment and the woman was convicted and fined.

I am certain each and every one of us, would have an opinion on the outcome of the case, and that would be reliant on how well we knew the case, or our views on animal welfare standards, but  in every respect, the courts had made their determination based on the information before them.

Debra Tranter had made her own decisions, she did not believe the courts findings were harsh enough, and she has every right to hold an opinion, but not one of us has the right to back vigilante actions. Who among us has the right to be judge and jury, even more so when we were not a party to the case and all the available evidence?

My request for people not to take the law into their own hands for the sake of the children, made me a supporter of puppy farmers, I will note here the convicted woman only had a couple of dogs, so was not a puppy farmer in that respect, but I was now a supporter of puppy farmers in Tranters eyes.

A lawyer I worked with on a few cases relating to animal welfare related issues as part of my studies, was later accused of having photos of children on his computer, somehow this allowed Tranter to call me a supporter of paedophiles.

During an election campaign I contested, these slanderous lies were spread all over the net and to all of Oscars law supporters,  through tweets and on line rants and media reports, remembering all I did was ask people not to terrify children in their home.

It kept on going and I still endure on line attacks, once Debra found out I was a sporting shooter, I was then an animal murderer, something I would never do, my wife and I run a sanctuary and I have been in animal rescue for years, the fact I am a target shooter with a pistol, does not make me an animal killer, but the facts best not get in the way of destroying my good name.

I have written submissions on puppy farms, worked with sanctuary’s and shelters all over this country, I have been in animal rescue for years, raised money and feed and delivered it myself from SA to QLD during the floods and raised over 300 tonnes of feed for the animals and sanctuary’s devastated by the fires in SA, but none of this counts once you are on Debra Tranters bad side.

The sad part of all this, was that when this first happened, I phoned Debra to explain my comment on her page, should not be mistaken as an attack on her, just the protection of those young children against vigilante actions and she never even gave me a chance to explain or phone back.

Had this never happened, would I have been elected after only just missing out on a seat, how much good could I have done for animal welfare as an elected member, are questions that will never be answered.

Does anyone deserve this sort of treatment for simply advocating for common sense to prevail?

I have to wonder if it was even that initial comment, because every time the media cover an animal related campaign I am involved in or a rescue I am sorting, the attacks start again.

Improving animal welfare standards in this country should never be hampered by division, and never would if the animal’s best interests were the only genuine driver.

Some might ask why I never took legal action to stop these unfounded attacks on my good name, well I tried, as have many, but Tranter has learned to cover her tracks meaning I could never ensure she was served properly, and over the past couple of years I have come to realise I am not her only victim.

There is so much that needs to be achieved in animal welfare, I do tend to question how much more we might have achieved if she had only picked up the phone back when all this started, and  if that may have resulted in us working more closely together, because unity is the best way forward.

Mark Aldridge

RSPCA Australia, what do your donations achieve?

January 2, 2015

RSPCA…WHERE DO YOUR DONATIONS END UP?

The RSPCA are a private corporation, who market themselves in such a way that money raised is to rescue animals, well this is what most donors believe.

Money is raised through a variety of campaigns, the million paws walk, social media, news reporting and telemarketing campaigns to list only a few, they also receive money from the sale of goods, insurances and most recently through using their name to promote animals related produce like chicken and eggs.

Not all money raised makes it into the RSPCA’s hands, marketing companies charge for handling some of the process, in some cases taking up to 80% of the money raised, I bring this up simply as a reminder that when $$$$ values are mentioned here, for every 1 million they spend, well over $5 million may have had to be raised to cover that expenditure.

Expenditure covers the RSPCA inspectorate, their shelter operations and their marketing, so let’s start with their inspectorate, I will use a recent and ongoing case study “May V RSPCA WA” although there are many similar cases that paint a similar picture.

Animal cruelty under the legislation in most states is policed by the RSPCA inspectors, who are given powers under state animal welfare legislation.

Most Australians see the RSPCA’s role as one of prosecution those who abuse animals in a deliberate way, or those who do not look after their animals, those that dump animals and the like, although the line between deliberate abuse and animal rescue itself in recent times has blurred quite considerably.

The May case is interesting as it is opens up the debate needed to reform and refine the term “Animal abuse” Mrs May had been rescuing animals for over a decade, all the local vets knew her, the local council rangers (with the same powers as the RSPCA inspectors) were regular visitors, and had never found any reason for concern, all the animals were contained on her property’s, unable to roam the streets.

The RSPCA WA sent inspectors out to check on Mrs May, finding one rabbit that had what they thought was an injury, and going on to seize that rabbit, rather than use other options like an order to have Mrs Mays vets look at it.

While there the inspectors asked her to clean up around the place, so Mrs May complied calling ion some friends from the animal welfare industry to help.

“I will note here what the procedural guidelines recommend, as I believe WA legislation is one of the better versions in the country” Here is a graph which covers the issue well.

RSPCA procedural guidelines

As you can see by this graph, what ought to have happened if the Inspectors have any cause for concern was the issue of animal welfare notices, which could include, cleaning up, presenting animals for vet checks, lowering animal numbers or improving available enclosures, something I believe meets community expectations.

Mrs May contacted the RSPCA on several occasions asking about the health of her Rabbit and asking when it would be returned, with the reply’s that it was doing well and would be back soon, which seems to be in line with community expectations.

Approximately 1 week later the RSPCA returned with several inspectors when Mrs May was not home and seized every animal, approximately 139 animals, mainly cats and rabbits, but also 1 dog, ducks, birds and canary’s, I note here the warrant used was inappropriate and incorrectly addressed, but for the purposes of this overview, I shall refrain from going into the legal aspects of this case in too much detail.

Now at this stage one must wonder why they seized every animal, obviously being rescued animals, some were not in perfect health, but veterinary reports clearly show that those with health issues were undergoing professional treatment.

All the animals had shelter, food and water, and may I add, plenty of room to move compared to the usual shelter environment, they were receiving the best treatment and their food was top class.

This leaves us to debate living conditions, Mrs May had two houses, with enclosed rear yards, in the seizure videos, it was clear animals lived in her home, but the homes was clean and tidy, Mrs May had moved some of the cats into temporary areas to do some renovations as a result of requests by the RSPCA on their first visit, but an example would be a single bedroom, with two cats, food and water and one litter tray, which appeared to anger the inspectors?

Now Mrs May had complied with all directions, had never breached any orders, had no previous convictions or even the slightest issues with the way in which she looked after her animals, so the only grounds for the seizure appears to be the amount of animals, spread over the 2 homes she owned, but I can find no legislative provisions for seizing animals for this reason.

“Receipts from local vets showed Mrs may had invested over $200,000 on treating her rescues over the past decade her own money might I add”

So let’s pause for a little debate, the RSPCA not only arrived when Mrs May was not home, she was out having a rescued rabbit treated at the vet ($400) they attended with the Media, so they were intent on seizing all of the animals in front of a camera, why? If they had major concerns after the first visit, where was their urgent warrant, why was there a long delay before they returned, or more importantly, where were the orders of compliance, expected under the department of agriculture’s procedural guidelines?

Here is one of the media reports, and some words from it.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/rspca-at-breaking-point-20130214-2efic.html

“The RSPCA is currently experiencing a crisis, after an additional 250 sick, injured and neglected animals have come into RSPCA’s Malaga care centre since Christmas time,” RSPCA chief executive David van Ooran said in a statement.

The number of animals in RSPCA’s Malaga facility is expected to reach more than 400 by tonight – 230 above capacity.

This week’s raids come after a December raid on a suburban Perth property which saw more than 130 animals seized.

I wonder how many of you readers, have noticed the point raised here, if the animals were indeed seized as a result of “the number of animals Mrs May had” then were taken to the RSPCA shelter in Malaga, the RSPCA then go onto say they are 230 above capacity, meaning the animals were back in an over-crowed situation, now I will remind you of the conditions of the animals, they went from two cats to a single bedroom sized enclosure, to two animals to a crate.

Mrs May and her Vets, both contacted the RSPCA with grave concerns for the sick animals, offering up their medications, Mrs Mays vets offered to attend the RSPCA shelter to help identify which ones were sick and their ongoing treatment regime, the RSPCA refused.

I will note here that the RSPCA shelter records obtained under FOI, show some of these animals waited months for checks ups, resulting in many dying or being put down, the most recent vet checks indicate many if not all the animals became sick in custody.

Mrs May until this day has never given up on trying to get her animals back, she applied to the State administration tribunal for the return of her animals, demanding to see them, it was here she started finding out they were slowly being killed off, the Justice then reminded the RSPCA they had to return the animals, because they had not pressed any kind of charges against Mrs May (The legislation requires the animals to be returned if no charges are laid within 4 months).

The RSPCA did not appear to be able to comply, as they could not return all her animals, so they raced off to the magistrates court and filed charges of animal credulity against Mrs May, 139 charges.

The charges laid were invalid at law, and ended up being dropped some 12 months later, the animals were never returned, as of December 2014, only 42 were left in any condition to be released, of these up to 20 may not have even been Mrs Mays, and the RSPCA chief inspector at the time, could not even guarantee any would make it out alive, even though Mrs May had many shelters backing her up and willing to take them if the RSPCA would not comply and return them to their rightful owner.

I will also note here that the RSPCA during the first 14 months of this case were seeking nearly $50,000 per month from Mrs May for the upkeep of the animals, plus veterinary and legal costs, amounting to near 1 million dollars in damages, something that again does not meet the procedural guidelines or community expectations.

Even if one was to take the position of labelling Mrs may a hoarder, which has not proven to be the case, one would not have expected the RSPCA’s actions to be appropriate if they indeed had concerns of mental illness.

The CEO of the Department of Agriculture knew all of these was happening, documents obtained under freedom of information applications, clearly showed the Inspectors were under investigation, that the charges laid were being questioned, as were the murder of healthy animasl, in fact all the issues listed above were being questioned by the man who awarded the RSPCA inspectors their powers, this was back in March 2013 a few months after the seizure.

I shall add one of the pages to confirm my statements (Hundreds of pages of evidence is available to support this blog)

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So lets get back to “Where do your donations end up” and what do they achieve.

In the May case, of the 139 animals seized, on what could be considered inadequate grounds ( I will let you judge that point for yourselves) none may ever make it out of their shelter alive, the RSPCA have spent around $1.6 million plus on this case, Mrs May had her savings devastated and had to borrow a further $200,000 at 73 years of age, which will result in her losing her home, to try and fight for the release of her animals, even if that release was into the care of no kill shelters that had their hands up to take them.  Mrs May will at this stage (1/1/15) face no charges of animal cruelty, is under a contract to remain silent, as are most of the RSPCA staff that resigned or were sacked over this case, or for questioning the RSPCA CEO, not exactly what I would have thought would be an outcome that meets the community’s expectations, especially in relation to the spending of public donations, what are your thoughts so far?

The RSPCA also apparently took on a legal battle with DAFWA (the department of agriculture) ion an attempt to stop successful Freedom of Information applications, to ensure they could continue to control their public image, by withholding information their donors rightfully deserve to know.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/wa/WAICmr/2014/22.html

The information used to over view this case, includes FOI statements, my attendance in the courts, whistle blowers from within the RSPCA including the ex-Chief inspector, general inspectors, vets, the RSPCA vets, the in house RSPCA past prosecutor, past board members and many others, who to this day we cannot find a media source or government department for them to come forward to about this and many others issues with in the RSPCA upper management.

Millions of your donations resulted in the death of rescued animals, and the persecution of a dedicated animal carer, and the waste of government and judicial services.

If the RSPCA in WA had adhered to the law and the prosecution and procedural guidelines we only find in place in WA, Mrs May would have received support and direction, she could have continued to use here time and savings to rescue animals in an agreeable manner for all parties. The RSPCA would not have ended up over capacity, allowing them to take in more needy animals, and millions of dollars of YOUR donations would have been better spent.

“It has become a regular process to find tens of thousands of dollars being spent on prosecutions where support services and education would have a far better outcome for the animals, their carers and the hard earned resources available to animal welfare.”

** Intention is the much over looked action here and in animal welfare legislation, there is a huge difference between those who deliberately abuse or  ignore the needs of animals, and those who love and care for them but may not be able to achieve the higher quality of services available to the RSPCA who have million dollar bank accounts and top class facilities.

The problem here, is no lessons were learned, because there was no accountability, no final court scrutiny and no public debate on the case, like most if not all actions with in the RSPCA, due to a trend to use their powers to silence the truth rather than use it to learn from.

 

So let’s look at how much the RSPCA spend on administration and running their shelters and their success rates in animal rescue.

It is here the truth also gets a good slice of professional spin from their very apt marketing and legal team, and what would we expect when we look at their board members, because rather than a selection of names from the animal rescue community, we find marketing experts, lawyers,  CEO’s of local government,  company directors, community relations experts, advertising experts, even petroleum companies executives and the Banking and finance industries, it is rare to find members with any experience in actual animal welfare or rescue.

When I did an investigation into rehoming facts and figures I was terrified to find that even their general posted facts and figure that include return to owner, that many branches had a kill rate as high as 50% for dogs and 70% for cats.

“The inclusion of return to owner in their facts and figures does not allow the true facts to come out, it is what happens to animals left in the RSPCA’s care that is most important to animal lovers, and this ought to include those killed in their pounds before transfers, and those that are killed elsewhere, one could come to the conclusion that the truth may bring more support by way of donations and support. “

Making matters worse was the reasons used for euthanasia, with behavioural issues leading the score card at between 65 and 70% and excuse also applied to new born kittens for instance, when one digs deeper, it is not unusual to find an outsourcing of killing, from selective use of pounds to the sending animals to other places to be put down, sections labelled other or transferred in their facts and figures are still yet to be explained.

If people are to donate their hard earned savings to a high profile charity, community expectations would be towards transparency rather than secrecy and censorship that have found its place within the society over the past decade.

Their income and expenditure is divided into 4 sections, inspectorate and rescue, fundraising legacies and marketing, animal operations and corporate administrations.

Over the past few years, the RSPCA balance sheets in most states show a sharp decline in profits, with many states posting huge losses; internal leaked documents expose moves to cut down on the services they provide like shelter operations, prosecutions and rescue initiatives, rather than administrations costs to cover sharp increases in wages, bonuses, silence payments and administration fee’s.

Animal operations now only receives around 40% of yearly expenditure,  increases in rehoming being bragged in recent years has been the direct result of the improved identity of lost animals, enabling more to be returned to owners, rather than any increase in the society’s ability to rehome abandoned animals.

Over the past 18 months, I have had so many RSPCA staff, volunteers and inspectors come to me for support, in the hope that their voices could drive change in the society they once loved and cherished, one must question what is going on with in the society, that was once an organisation dedicated to the protection of animals, which now appears to have been taken over and become a powerful corporation holding the mighty dollar and their awarded powers above the genuine welfare of animals, I have several articles that break down their financials and include the documents that will enable you the reader to come to your own conclusions.

The way forward from my investigation, is a step by step process, starting with handing back powers of prosecution to the government and state solicitors office to handle, to both remove any conflict of interests and abuse of process issues. A full government enquiry into censorship and financial issues within the society, and to set ground rules of an equitable nature in relation to the publishing of their facts and figures.  A nation-wide set of procedural and prosecution guidelines to ensure due process, to be overseen by an independent body, and finally to ensure their boards have a balanced range of members in relation to the inclusion of members with genuine experience in animal welfare and rescue.

Mark Aldridge

Animal welfare advocate

DO THE RSPCA actually care for animals?

December 11, 2014

RSPCA do they care for animalsMarianna May V RSPCA WA Brief overview

“Question for all the RSPCA board members”

  1. Marianna May had been taking in stray, sick and injured animals for over a decade, vet receipts alone indicate that she had invested tens of thousands of her own money in their proper treatment and rehabilitation.
  2. The RSPCA visited and found only 1 sick animal on their first visit, none of the animals were sick as a result of Marianna’s actions
  3. The RSPCA returned around 1 week later and seized all of her animals, most were healthy and those that were not were under vet care.
  4. The RSPCA then released media statements saying they were over stocked, in other words they did not have the facility’s to take this many animals. (over their quota)
  5. The Inspector in charge of the raid did not have a correct warrant for the property and also had refused to adhere to the states “Procedural and prosecution guidelines”.
  6. No notices were given, no instructions to lower the number of animals or seek vet treatment or any of the procedural guidelines were applied.
  7. The treating vets (of Marianna’s seized animals) contacted the RSPCA as the animals medications were not taken on the day of the raid, the RSPCA refused to speak with the vets and or allow them to check up on their patients.
  8. Shelter records make clear some of these animals suffered as a result.
  9. The State Administration tribunal all but ordered the return of the animals, because charges had not been pressed in time, the RSPCA then pressed hurried charges that were not only improper, but were also in the name of the RSPCA, which is not allowed under WA law.
  10. The Department of Agriculture (DAFWA) questioned the RSPCA and inspector Amanda Swifts actions, they were not happy with the standard of the prosecution, the ignorance of procedural guidelines and the reasoning behind the destruction of healthy animals belonging to Mrs. May.
  11. The prosecution however was allowed to proceed, even though it was invalid at law, Mrs May as a consequence spent tens of thousands of borrowed money fighting the charges.
  12. DAFWA had questioned why a forfeiture application had not been made; the RSPCA also chose to ignore this question.
  13. After 14 months, the animals had not been returned to Mrs May, many had been killed and the RSPCA had not advised Mrs May as required under the Animal welfare Act 2002.
  14. The RSPCA WA were by now demanding damages in the vicinity of $800,000, it was in or about March 2013 15 months later, that the original charges were dropped, and new charges were laid.
  15. The new charges were in the name of Amanda Swift in line with the legislation, but again ignored DAFWA policy in regards to “Prosecution and procedural guidelines, and neither of the prosecutions went before the state solicitor’s office for scrutiny, as required at law.
  16. By mid-2014 the cost to the RSPCA of this debacle had reached around $1.2 to 1.6 million dollars, the costs to Mrs May of a financial manner had exceeded $200,000 which will result in the loss of a home.
  17. In or about July 2014 the RSPCA filed a civil matter for forfeiture of the animals, something that ought to have been done within a couple of months from the seizure.
  18. In or about November 2014 (2 years after the first raid) the RSPCA WA entered into an agreement with Mrs May to drop all charges and costs in return for both her silence and the release of the animals into a shelter environment.
  19. This agreement which is also without legal foundation included the usual clause for Mays silence, and for independent vet checks to access the condition of the animals.
  20. During these negotiations (Terms of the agreement) several no kill shelters offered to take and rehabilitate Mrs Mays animals, the RSPCA refused the inclusion of any shelters except for “Cat Haven”.
  21. Cat Haven are unable to take that many animals, and Mrs May being aware of this fact, is refusing to comply with the contract, as she at all times believed the animals would end up in safe hands, you see, her only wish is to ensure the safety of the animals, that without her intervention would have died years ago. (I would have thought the RSPCA WA would back her position)
  22. The Vets have confirmed two things that undermine the RSPCA’s actions even further, that several of the animals are so sick they are suffering, and ought to have already been put down, several born in custody of the RSPCA have adverse behavioural issues, and FOI documents from DAFWA make clear healthy animals have also been killed, making Mrs Mays past actions more acceptable than those of the RSPCA WA throughout this ordeal from the stand point of genuine animal welfare.
  23. I write to ask this simple question, why can’t the animals be released into safe homes, when a case like this has been allowed to proceed at such a huge expense to the community, when the only driver for Mrs May is the safe release of the animals?
  24. Mrs Mays only mistake was loving animals, maybe in your eyes too many, Mrs Mays only driver is their safe release, and she has paid a huge cost to try and save them, so why are the RSPCA against their future safety?

Mark Aldridge, Community advocate and animal lover.

OSCARS LAW, deserves better, so do the animals

December 30, 2013

Debra Tranter of Oscars law, labels animal welfare activist “supporter of animal & child abuse and paedophilia”, for rescuing animals and protecting children?

I used to hold Miss Tranter in some esteem, and the idealism behind Oscars law is a very good one, but recent interactions have muddied the water.
It was such a shock to see a person I held in high regard, attacking my good name with accusations I supported animal abuse and even more so that I supported child abuse and pedophilia, because I have been a very loud advocate for child welfare for over a decade.
In the past few years I have held a series of South Australia’s largest rallies to bring attention to short falls in support services for both children and the companion animal sector.
A few calls later and most of those I look up to in animal welfare have also fallen victims, in her latest tirade she attacks The Australian Alliance animal welfare division, with out even knowing who the advocates are with in the organisation, so what is Miss Tranter up to?
In her her most recent tirade, she attacks rally’s being held to support children with disability’s, as if that offends her, where I have always believed empathy for animals and children went hand in hand.
It is still hard to believe that by asking people not to terrorize disadvantaged children in their own home, would start so much abuse from a person who comes across and a very educated and compassionate woman.
Animal welfare has always had a place in my heart from a young age, my mother reminds me often of how I was always bringing home stray animals, in recent years it has become a big part of my life, resulting in me taking a very strong interest in most aspects of animal legislation.
My wife also holds these same values, and as a result we help many in need, including Willow grove sanctuary of Peg Solomon, when willow grove was forced to shut due to Peg’s age and general health, and we heard many of the animals would be put down, our hands went up, and we built a sanctuary on our property “Willow wood” hence Willow wood native wildlife sanctuary.
My wife is the real hero of the sanctuary; I just get easy jobs doing the rescues, the repairs and finding the funds, through opening a second business.
When the QLD floods destroyed so many smaller rescues and sanctuary’s like ourselves, I used my political profile and media contacts to raise both money and food donations, which were to be shipped up by truck, when the truck let us down, I was forced to drag out my hot-rod, borrow a huge trailer and head up myself.
It was here I realised how many great people we have in animal rescue.
My wife and I have worked with many groups over the recent years, making many friends in the animal rescue and welfare industry, and we were also big supporters of the RSPCA and the AWL, for us it has always been about the animals and their right to life.
My varied political interests have covered a range of issues over the past 15 years, but rights and liberty based debate is the easiest way to cover them all in short.
It wasn’t until I intervened as spokesperson for Moorook animal shelter, to deal with an RSPCA intervention, that I realized just how many problems we had when it comes to transparent and educated support for our companion animal sector.
The issues became many, and most were coming from the very people most Australians would see as the leaders in the industry.
It has taken some time to realize that most if not all of the issues stem from the same idealism, that of those in positions of power being blinded by a very narrow view of how an animal should be treated, a very sterile one indeed. On top of this support services are now pushed aside in favor of prosecution which undermines the best interests of the animals themselves.
Coming from the political arena, these same views are apparently adopted by many in positions of power, one of knowing better, and taking the approach that if they believe any person is in the wrong based on their narrow views, it is their duty to spin their position regardless of the facts.
I will apply my views on this issue to Miss Tranter, but they could also be applied to the RSPCA, a complaint is received,  she heads out to investigate, and ensures her time results in a story, rather than taking a proactive approach, like educating, supporting or even embracing the whole truth.
I can see where she is coming from, exposing issues in the animal welfare to further her stance and objectives, in the same way the RSPCA will spin a story painting them as the national heroes, does open peoples eyes but at what cost to genuine animal welfare?
The problem here is that justice plays no part in the story, only the worst pictures are published to paint a picture, the victim is never allowed to tell their side of the story, and neither Tranter or the RSPCA offer support services where they would result in the best outcome for the animals.
In most recent interventions by Tranter, animals supposedly rescued that end up in the RSPCA could be euthanized at a rate of around 50 to 70%, rather than any short comings in their housing being addressed. Obviously when it comes to puppy farms the issue is what is a puppy farm, and what should be legal and the like, it is here that Debras voice is most needed.
If there are 5 tubs of water, the empty one is photographed, if the animals are well kept, the one cage that is the dirtiest is the one that makes the headlines, in fact I have seen credible evidence that some photo evidence is deliberately doctored at times to support their allegations.
Where this makes a mockery of animal welfare, is in many cases the owners are animal lovers with the resources and will to help animals in need, this is very evident in many recent cases. It seems puppy farms are not the only agenda, So let’s look at Miss Tranters attacks on my good name.
Some time ago a woman came to see me about issues she was enduring with the RSPCA, I looked at her supporting evidence, and could see that some intervention was necessary; I had doubts that the RSPCA would indeed do the right thing, but she had council, so I decided not to intervene.
Several months later, having run out of funds, this woman was left to plea bargain with the RSPCA, and as a result was convicted of several accounts of animal cruelty relating to horses that had arrived in poor condition, an issue for all animal carers in recent times.
The information relating to the case in question clearly indicated that intervention was warranted, and Tranters intervention was indeed worthy.
She was allowed by the court to keep many animals, which shows clearly that her intention was not to cause intentional abuse, more so that she needed guidance, and just maybe a fairer hearing or at least professional representation until the end of the court procedures.
Debate on what we label animal abuse appears just as pertinent as the question “What is a puppy farm”, failure to mitigate harm takes its place at the top of animal abuse cases, but rarely accepts the ideal some people were just doing their best. When intention is no longer a part of the process, neither is justice.
The original complaint supposedly came from Debra Tranter of Oscars law, who all but admitted on twitter to breaking into the property and taking photos for the RSPCA. Many of Debra’s raids result in animals being seized by the RSPCA, even though the facts are clear, that up to 70% can be killed by them.
The court orders infuriated Debra Tranter, as they were not in line with her expectations, so she posted on line selected photos and the woman’s details, which sparked public outrage and of course increased support for Oscars law, the first issue here is that this was not a puppy farm.
The issue that drew me in was a call from the woman in question, because people were threatening her in her home and driving past terrifying her children, making it worse this was a very quiet rural location, so I went to the Oscars law page and read hundreds of threats supporting vigilante actions against this woman.
Similar vigilante approaches through social networking are known to have dire consequences as seen in many similar cases exposed in a variety of recent media articles.
What made all this worse is only a narrow view of the truth was being presented by Oscars law, painting the picture of what this woman had done in its worst light, I chose to ignore that fact, and only made comment that such threats and vigilante actions were not in the best interests of justice, as there were young children in the home..
That was all that was needed for Debra Tranter and some of her supporters to attack me on line through social networks and twitter, calling me an animal abuser and a support of the same.
Debra Tranter accused me of supporting animal abusers, puppy farms and even that I was supporter of pedophilia, and outrageous accusation of the worst kind, all this for wanting to protect children from fear and intimidation.
This only goes to prove a point; people must always hear both sides of a story to ensure the truth is their only motivator.  I messaged Tranter to have a chat as adults, this made her even angrier, so from the onset, mediation and support was not on the agenda, and this attitude is also a strong part of how her friends at the RSPCA also work.
So here we have a person supposedly into animal welfare attacking another with the same interests, all because I simply asked that people not terrify innocent children, the RSPCA have taken the same approach with me, more so in relation to my position as spokesperson forMoorook Animal shelter.
The RSPCA entered the shelter, took 9 animals based on behaviour, and existing health issues, which were all being treated, killed most then went on to charge the owner under animal cruelty, sending a clear message that rescuing animals can result in charges by the very organisation we would have expected to step in and support or congratulate the owner.
There should be no place in this fine nation for authorities or activists that think they are the law or even worse are above the law, full stop.
If Debra Tranter is willing to attack innocent people, even those she has never met in such a vile manner, can we trust any evidence she puts forward?
Miss Tranter has been before the courts on many occasions, convicted of many issues and supposedly banned in her home state from being near some property’s that have animals, other charges easily found through Google searches include recklessly causing injury, assault with a weapon and reckless conduct endangering life.
She has stolen dogs and had to return them, and convicted of theft, including Oscar himself, which she is purported to have purchased back 18 months later.
It is also interesting to note that Miss Tranter works closely with the RSPCA in most states, in fact very well with the RSPCA in SA, the very people who kill more healthy animals than they re-home.
When this occurred I contacted many good friends in animal welfare, only to find they also had been attacked in a similar way to what I have endured, which to be honest is very sad for animal welfare.
The other common message was that all of us in animal welfare that dare question the RSPCA, have also been targeted by Tranter, which paints a sorry picture of her intentions.
The law is what needs addressing and exposing the truth is the right thing to do, and I applaud Tranter for going to such lengths to bring the truth out in the open, but it must be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or her actions become unacceptable.
Oscars law deserves better, it needs to take a proactive and honest approach, to define what is a puppy farm, to educate at all levels about the need to take the right to life of all animals seriously, and to help promote legislative change based on educated debate.
It is a no brainer that Tranter has huge support as does the ideals of Oscars law, no one wants to see photos of animals living in horrid conditions, or bread like farmed animals, but that support appears to have gone to her head, time for her to reflect and look seriously at what she hopes to achieve, because unity is by far the best way forward, tempered with humility and truth.
The RSPCA also need to return to their grass roots, step up and support animal carers, and use their funds in the best way possible to overcome short falls in animal welfare, rather than misusing their awarded powers.
Debra Tranter calls me a supporter of animal abusers and child abusers, where I simply stepped into ensure the safety of children being intimidated and threatened as a result of Tranters own actions, the same person who breaks into peoples property’s and steals animals, that may end up being killed or abused as a result, some thing is very wrong in animal welfare.
We must take a united approach to animal welfare, and all this could have been avoided by a simple phone call, it is this division that undermines progressive reform, and it is the “I know best approach” that undermines justice.