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Dog's $42,000 kennel bill: RSPCA accused of bullying tactics

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Queensland’s RSPCA has been accused of targeting certain pet shops and breeders, charging exorbitant fees for animal care and telling anyone who complains about them to “take it to court”.

 

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The claims are included in a dossier of allegations delivered to the State Government on Tuesday.

They have been compiled by State MP Robbie Katter after his office received a litany of complaints from the public about the RSPCA in the past 18 months.

Katter, the leader of Katter’s Australian Party, delivered the dossier to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mark Furner, Agricultural Indsutry Development Minister Mark Furner.

Katter says the complaints, from across the State, allege that:

– Certain pet shop, breeders and individuals are being targeted by the RSPCA;
– That exorbitant fees are charged by the RSPCA when they people’s animals, until a court case;
– That court cases are extended to put pressure on defendants to surrender their animals;
– That when defendants complain about treatment from RSPCA officers they are told to take it court;
– That there is no oversight of RSPCA officers and their use of power under the law and as prosecutors.

Katter highlighted one case where a man’s dog was with the RSPCA for seven months and the cost of care and board was $42,000.

He said members of the public, who had interactions with the RSPCA, felt the organisation was “untouchable”.

Katter’s dossier includes dozens of pages of the details of individual complaints about people’s dealings with the RSPCA.

Katter said the RSPCA was a private charity with a $50 million annual budget, had a relationship with the Government and needed to be subject to heightened public scrutiny.

Katter’s dossier comes as the Queensland Audit Office is due to hand down a report into Regulating animal welfare services. That inquiry looked at the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ engagement with RSPCA Queensland.

“My belief, based on the community sentiment that KAP has heard, is that the department does not manage this relationship and delegation of powers well at all,” Katter said.

“Therefore we are anticipating the report will not only provide robust insight into the RSPCA’s operations but also into the Government’s failure to manage the organisation and temper its powers.

“Repeatedly, concerns shared by members of the public have been that the RSPCA is ‘untouchable’. This should never be allowed to be the case,” Katter said.

The State Department of Agriculture and Fisheries administers the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, which is currently being reviewed.

The legislation gives the department and the RSPCA legislative powers to deliver animal welfare services and take enforcement action against those alleged to committed offences against animals.

InQueensland has contacted the RSPCA for comment.

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