Category 1 – Outstanding Rescue Group
Forever Friends Animal Rescue (VIC) – Founded by Saskia Adams and a small group of her friends in 2011, Forever Friends Animal Rescue (FFAR) is a registered charity and incorporation run entirely by animal-loving volunteers. The organisation is an all-species rescue that saves the lives of dogs, cats, pocket pets and farm animals on death row, and focuses on assisting those who need comprehensive veterinary and/or behavioural rehabilitation. To date FFAR has saved over 7000 lives, and is now one of the largest rescue organisations in Australia.
Greyhound Rescue NSW – Greyhound Rescue (GR) was established by Peter and Janet Flann in 2009 to find homes for greyhounds considered surplus to racing industry requirements. GR has re-homed over 1000 greyhounds, with 156 adopted last calendar year. Greyhound Rescue is able to rescue and rehome greyhounds thanks to its dedicated team of volunteers and the generosity of its supporters
Maneki Neko Cat Rescue (VIC) – Established in 2012 by Samantha McKernan and Carl Anthony after a number of years fostering for other organisations. Maneki Neko Cat Rescue is an all breed cat rescue organisation specifically focused on working collaboratively with the community, community groups, business’s and local councils to improve the welfare of cats and kittens.
Perth Rescue Angels (W.A) – Perth Rescue Angels Inc is a Western Australian based not-for-profit animal rescue charity that was established in 2012. Perth Rescue Angels strives to change the lives of homeless, neglected, surrendered and abused animals through foster care and adoption. They specialise in rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming undomesticated cats, as well as those with special needs or requiring extra medical care. In 2018 they rehomed 1101 cats and kittens, with over 900 rehomed so far in 2019.
Category 2 – Outstanding New Rescue Group
Precious Paws Animal Rescue (QLD) – PPAR was co-founded by Kerrie Williams and Susie Morton in July 2016. PPAR is a 100% volunteer-based Not For Profit Charity dedicated to saving the dogs most in need including dogs with heartworm, Hip Dysplasia, large breeds, brindle in colour and those in remote locations. PPAR is primarily a pound rescue or “At Risk in the Community” dog rescue.
Dandy Cat Rescue (VIC) – Dandy Cat Rescue began during a conversation around a kitchen table in Noble Park North on December 9, 2017. Three experienced foster carers – who are also close friends and avid cat lovers – saw the need for a cat rescue to operate in the City of Greater Dandenong after reading about the council’s overflowing pound. Dandy Cat Rescue now has ten foster carers and have successfully rehomed more than 102 cats and kittens.
Small Paws Animal Rescue QLD – SPARQ began in January 2017 with a group of 20 volunteers, and today they have a volunteer level of 100-120. Animals come from private surrenders, several pounds in QLD and NSW; owners who have passed away, old or sick animals, domestic violence cases; and ex-breeding animals.
Purrfect Paws Rescue (S.A) – started operating from April 2018. Purrfect Paws Rescue is a small team of 14 volunteers who have
taken in over 140 cats and kittens, rehomed 90%; and raised funds to pay vet fees. Purrfect Paws Rescue is honoured to receive local business and community support and have the respect of many vets in their local area, recommending them as their ‘rescue of choice’.
Category 3 – Outstanding Animal Shelter
Just Cats Tasmania – Just Cats Tasmania Inc. (Just Cats) was founded in 2012 by Rachel Beech. In 2016 as the organisation was still growing, it was decided to embark on a capital fundraising project and construct a purpose built facility, the only one of its type in Northern Tasmania. The new shelter opened in October 2018. In November 1, 2018, Just Cats was approved by the Premier, the Hon Will Hodgman for accreditation as a registered Cat Management Facility. That same month Just Cats were also the winner of the People’s Choice Award and finalist in the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards.
Second Chance Animal Rescue (VIC) – Second Chance Animal Rescue was founded in 2008 after vet nurse and local shelter volunteer Marisa Debattista witnessed firsthand how many beautiful animals needed help, versus how little resources were available. SCAR rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs and cats in need from pounds and private home surrenders. SCAR are proud to say that they have rescued and rehomed over 10,000 pets to date.
Cat Haven (WA) – Cat Haven was established in 1961 with the aim of “rescuing cats from the perils of the streets”. Over the decades since, it has grown to be Western Australia’s premier cat welfare organisation, with 8919 cats and kittens coming into the shelter in 2018 alone. As an ‘open admission shelter’, they operate with the ethos to never turn a cat away. They actively work towards their mission by; providing a facility to care for lost, stray or unwanted cats, rehoming as many cats as possible through an effective adoption and foster service, providing cost-effective sterilisation and microchipping, promoting community awareness of cat welfare and responsible cat ownership and by providing quality onsite boarding facilities.
Central Coast Animal Care Facility (NSW) – Central Coast Animal Care Facility (CCACF) successfully tendered to manage Gosford Pound on behalf of Central Coast Council as of 1st July, 2016. CCACF work closely with other pounds near and far to ensure as many re-homable animals as possible can be saved. Working alongside local businesses spanning the entire Central Coast region, it is their goal to have all animals chipped and identified, while educating pet owners of the responsibility of pet ownership, unwanted litters and timely vet intervention.
Category 4 – Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
Sutherland Shire Animal Shelter (NSW) – houses stray dogs and cats that are mainly found in the Sutherland Shire Council or City of Sydney Local Government Areas. The two Local Government Areas have worked in collaboration for over ten years in caring for and rehoming animals and providing education to the community on responsible pet ownership. In addition to dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, the animal shelter also takes in stray rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and roosters, sheep, goats and pigs. All of the impounded animals are housed at the animal shelter facility and cared for by staff and volunteers until they are either reclaimed by their owners or adopted to suitable new families when not reclaimed.
Category 5 – Innovation in Rescue
AMRRIC One Health Program (NT) – AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates and coordinates culturally sensitive veterinary and education programs in rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia. AMRRIC One Health programs are an integrated veterinary service and education program.
Lort Smith and Pets of the Homeless (VIC) – Lort Smith and POTH both started working with Launch Housing, a crisis accommodation service for people experiencing homelessness in February 2018. Launch Housing currently has three crisis accommodation centres in Melbourne that will take well-behaved pets into their centres with their owners for a period of 6-8 weeks. However, placements are limited. So together, Lort Smith and POTH developed a program whereby pets can also be taken into foster care so owners can access (no-pet) crisis accommodation. All pets are vaccinated, desexed, microchipped and have any necessary veterinary treatment, behavioural assessments and training provided as part of the program.
Project Meow Geelong Cat Kindness Initiative & Desexing (VIC) – Project Meow Geelong is a cat desexing program that raises money to help desex cats in Geelong for cat owners in need of assistance. The priority is to help reduce the number of accidental litters not only born but also prevent them from entering the shelter system.
Category 6 – Community Education and Outreach Program
Second Chance Animal Rescue Outreach Program (VIC) – The SCAR Outreach Program is an initiative established to support the disadvantaged in their community who love their pets but are facing financial hardship. Since launching this program in 2017, SCAR has hosted 12 outreach days. This program is an innovative way to target the at-risk animals in our community, desexing them to avoid unwanted litters and microchipping to avoid pound intakes.
PAWS: Pet Awareness & Safety Program (Camden Council, NSW) – In 2013, Camden had officially become the fastest growing local government area (LGA) in NSW, with the number of companion animals set to increase significantly. In 2014, Council launched PAWS: Pet Awareness and Safety Program, which includes an education book for children and parents, education at local community events, free council run yearly information sessions, free microchipping, free nametags and working with the National Desexing Network to provide subsidised desexing, strategies to increase adoptions and more. The result has been a reduction of the euthanasia rate by 78% for cats and 89% for dogs.
MADI Mobile Cat Desexing (Lost Dogs Home, VIC) – In March 2016, The Lost Dogs’ Home launched a low-cost, mobile cat desexing program that directly targets cat owners most in need of this service. Working in partnership with local councils and cat rescue groups, MADI travels to identified communities throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria. As of June 2019, 3,700 cats were desexed within the local community and the prevention of an estimated 17,500 kittens being born over this period.
Spring Valley Program (Claws and Paws, NSW) – Claws ‘n’ Paws has steadily grown since 2011. The charity now rehomes more than 700 animals each year. Their Spring Valley Project is a 4 month program to trap, neuter and return 40+ semi wild cats that inhabit a property located on Spring Valley Avenue, a residential area of Gorokan, in the northern region of the Central Coast.
Category 7 – Volunteer of the Year
Sue Quartermain of RSPCA Victoria – Sue began her volunteering career in RSPCA Victoria Op Shops. However, in time the work became too strenuous on her back, so she began working in the Cattery at the Burwood East facility, cleaning and providing enrichment to the hundreds of cats that come through the shelter. After a few years, Sue started a new role for Rabbit Adoptions. She finds working with rabbits extremely rewarding. Rabbits are often misunderstood creatures, but Sue is a passionate advocate of her lop-eared friends. Now Sue is their resident rabbit expert with staff often coming to her with questions about the rabbits in adoptions. She is constantly thinking of new ways to improve the rabbit’s quality of life while under care, from providing enriching activities, to repositioning the layout of their hutches to make them as comfortable as possible.
Jill Potter of Forever Friends Animal Rescue (VIC) – Jill began volunteering for FFAR in April 2016 as a foster carer. She soon demonstrated herself to be such a committed, generous and positive volunteer, and keen to contribute more to FFAR, that Jill was appointed Dog Foster Carer Coordinator in November 2016 – just seven months later – a very senior role for someone new to the organisation. Jill heads up Team Dog, a FFAR sub-committee of four team members, and she does this with leadership, patience and care for her fellow volunteers.
Margaret Panetta of RSPCA Victoria– During her seven years at RSPCA Victoria there aren’t many roles Margaret hasn’t tried her hand at. She started in Kennels, Admissions and Clinic and then later moved on to the role of Storeroom Assistant, Customer Service Assistant, Clinic Prep Room Assistant and Education Assistant. Margaret has also spearheaded a RSPCA Victoria toymaking group that meet on the first Wednesday of every month. The group consists of ten volunteers who use their knitting, sewing and crafting skills to create adorable toys for the shelter animals.
Robert Morgan of RSPCA Victoria – Robert started volunteering at RSPCA Burwood East in June 2016. He has since been joined by his wife and daughter who also volunteer. Robert’s current weekly volunteer roles are as a Retail Assistant and Customer Care Floor Assistant, where he is responsible for greeting and directing customers as they arrive and assisting people in the RSPCA Victoria retail shop. Robert was motivated to volunteer at RSPCA Victoria following the loss of his dear friend, John. He is also greatly motivated to improve animal welfare. Robert is loved by customers and staff members alike, developing a strong rapport with regular RSPCA customers.
Angela Hards of Pakenham Pony Rescue (VIC) – Angela started volunteering at the Pakenham Pony Rescue Organisation in December, 2017. She began volunteering as she loves horses and wanted to make a difference in the lives of equines. Angela’s role at the PPRO is that of a senior volunteer. Angela’s role includes spending time socialising horses and ponies, riding, construction, cleaning paddocks, filling water troughs and taking visitors for lead line rides on their Thoroughbred – Happy. When she started volunteering, Angela had limited experience with power tools. She now confidently handles electric drills, saws and other equipment to erect fences and stables.
Category 8 – Advocate® People’s Rescue Story
- Rhiannon & Olaf (South Australia) adopted from RSPCA Lonsdale Shelter
- Sally, Beau & Sandy (Victoria) adopted from RSPCA Burwood
- Tilly & Rocky (Victoria) adopted from Riverina Rescue (no longer in operation)
- Ann & Marilyn (Victoria) adopted from Hear No Evil
- Jack & Skip (Western Australia) adopted from A1 Wheatbelt Dog Rescue
- Bronwyn, Kodi & Omlette (New South Wales) adopted from Hunter Animal Rescue
- Josie & Astro (Victoria) adopted from RSPCA NSW Yagoona
- Chuan & Sasha (New South Wales) foster fail from Animal Welfare League NSW
- Mary & Tommy (Western Australia) adopted from DFL Pound Rescue
- Lisa & Team Golden Oldies (New South Wales) adopted from Golden Retriever Rescue
Read the amazing, heartwarming STORIES of the Advocate® People’s Rescue Story finalists.