Media Information Sheet

Pet ownership and rescue in Australia

There are more than 24 million pets in Australia today. Australia continues to have one of the highest household rates of pet ownership in the world. In 2016, 59% of cats were acquired through re-homing organisations, friends or neighbours and as strays. 33% of dogs were acquired through re-homing organisations, friends or neighbours. (source: Pet Ownership in Australia 2016 Report). Sadly, every year, more than 186,000 dogs and cats are left unclaimed in Australia’s pounds and shelters. (Source:

Thanks to the great work done by not for profit rescue groups and animal shelters organisations, the rate of animals being adopted or fostered by Australians has increased over the years. PetRescue helps rescue organisations reach the pet-seeking public by getting their adoptable pets online. Their website now receives 250 searches a minute from families around Australia who want to adopt a cat or dog or another companion animal.

About the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2019

Cathy Beer, Founder of Pets4Life, an independent educational resource for cat and dog guardians, and those who are thinking of getting a cat or dog.  The Companion Animal Rescue Awards is a Pets4Life initiative, whose mission is to recognise and celebrate the most inspiring examples of rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of companion animals Australia wide. Launched in 2018, the inaugural Rescue Awards was a great success with 517 entries across all categories from around the country. 

In 2019, we are building on last year’s success. We welcome back Jetpets as our Platinum Rescue Hero and naming Partner. The program is known as the ‘Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2019’ or ‘Jetpets Rescue Awards 2019’.  We’re excited to introduce 3 new Judges: Bondi Vet Dr. Alex Hynes, an emergency veterinarian in Brisbane, Anne Boxhall located in Hobart who has 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue; and Bayer veterinarian Dr. Liisa Ahlström (category 8). 

Our ‘pawsome’ supporters include: Jetpets, Bayer, Pets4Life, PetRescue, Refuel, G2Z, AIAM, Pet Problem Solved, Pet Insurance Australia, Jo Lyons Photography, Pound Paws, Aussie Dog, Pet Professional Guild Australia, World Animal Protection, Connecting Up, Blackbaud, We Are Pets and Loyalty Pet Treats

2019 Categories

There are 8 categories in 2019, with one winner for each category. Award categories 1 – 7 are for the industry.  Category 8 is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted or fostered a pet.

  1. Outstanding Rescue Group
  2. Outstanding New Rescue Group (new in 2019)
  3. Outstanding Animal Shelter
  4. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
  5. Innovation in Rescue 
  6. Community Education and Outreach Program
  7. Volunteer of the Year
  8. Advocate® People’s Rescue Story


The judges for award categories 1 – 7 are:

  • Nell Thompson is Coordinator for Getting To Zero (G2Z) whose mission is to reduce the number of treatable cat and dogs being euthanased in Australia.
  • Vickie Davy, Co-Founder and joint CEO of PetRescue, a not for profit organisation that brings thousands of rescue pets face-to-face with thousands of potential adopters every day.
  • Tim Vasudeva is Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia. Tim spent two and a half years volunteering full-time with PetRescue and the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, before he was appointed CEO of Animal Welfare League NSW in 2011 and subsequently CEO of RSPCA South Australia from 2013 to 2017.
  • Bondi Vet Dr Alex Hynes, an emergency veterinarian in Brisbane
  • Dr Anthony Bennett is a veterinarian and co-star of Lifestyle Channel’s TV series Village Vets.
  • Sandy Matheson is Founder & Managing Director of Jetpets, a pet travel company focused on the safety, comfort, and welfare of pets.
  • Dr Anne Fawcett is an Animal Welfare Veterinarian. Dr Anne’s blog is
  • Dr Michael O’Donoghue is a small animal veterinarian and Co-Founder of People and Pets, a nationwide pet loss counselling service.
  • Anne Boxhall, Companion animal welfare advocate with 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue

The Judges for category 8, the Advocate® People’s Rescue Story are:

Key dates

Launch 10 April 2019
Open for entries1 May 2019
Entries close30 June 2019
JudgingJuly – August 2019
Finalists announced13 August 2019
Winners revealed12 September 2019

About Pets4Life

Pets4Life is an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those who are thinking of getting a cat or dog. Our goal is to help reduce cat and dog surrender and improve pet well-being in Australia. Our mission is to help families make better choices and become even better pet guardians. Pets4Life’s eGuide: Before You Get A Dog – 8 essential tips to get it right has received over 3,000 views and a very positive response from families, councils and veterinarians.

Cathy Beer is the Founder of Pets4Life. After over 20 years in the corporate world as a professional marketer, Cathy pursued her passion for pet welfare and created Pets4Life in 2013 after interviewing leaders in the companion animal welfare space. Cathy has given a number of presentations at pet events.

Cathy is a final year student at the Delta Institute of Australia to attain a Cert IV Companion Animal Services and an accredited Delta dog trainer. Cathy is a voluntary member of Willoughby Council’s Companion Animals Committee and a voluntary instructor at the Sydney All Breeds Dog Club.  She lives in Sydney with her husband John and two foster doggies, Twinkle and Fluffy.

‘Every animal deserves a good life, not just a life of existence’ – Pets4Life’s manifesto.

About Jetpets

Jetpets are Australia’s leading pet travel experts. Their in house team of pet travel consultants, pet handlers and resident vets have been caring for people’s beloved pets for over 27 years. Setting the highest standards of care for pets travelling interstate and overseas, the Jetpets team love nothing more than reuniting and bringing families together. Jetpets provide a complete pet travel service, taking care of everything involved in transporting a pet from their home to their final destination. For helpful information on pet travel visit, or to speak with an experienced pet travel consultant on 1300 668 309.

Contact us

For media enquiries, please contact:
Cathy Beer, Pets4Life on 0419 296 656 or   or
Caroline Zambrano, Pet Journo on 0403 550 730 or

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