RSPCA temperament test talks

Hunter animal rescue groups are preparing for fresh talks with the NSW RSPCA  on the re-homing of dogs and cats.

The organisations’ lawyers have contacted the not-for-profit charity requesting sit-down talks and RSPCA chief executive Steve Coleman has said he would  participate.

The Newcastle Herald reported yesterday that rescue groups were concerned about the RSPCA’s temperament test, used to determine whether a dog was suitable for re-homing.

NSW RSPCA currently has a 40per cent rate of euthanasia in its shelters statewide.

The Herald’s website was inundated with readers’ comments yesterday and posted an online poll asking whether the temperament test was fair.

Almost 900 people responded with more than  85per cent voting the test as harsh and unfair.

Mr Coleman last met with representatives from Dog Rescue Newcastle, Society of Companion Animal Rescuers and Hunter Animal Rescue on August 24 last year. Both parties claim the other failed to make further contact and no meetings have taken place since.

‘‘We would like to be able to work together, it’s about trying to manage competing passions,’’ Mr Coleman said.

‘‘When it comes down to it we appreciate that there is that passion. What we occasionally disagree with is what’s suitable and what’s not.

‘‘We’ll work with animal rescue groups that are reasonable.’’

Society of Companion Animal Rescuers vice-president David Atwell said he agreed with temperament tests but was opposed to the one NSW RSPCA used to assess animal behaviour.

He believed animal rescue groups had  the ability to help Rutherford RSPCA find homes for dogs with behaviour problems or to assist with re-training.

‘‘We are still willing to meet with him [Mr Coleman] in respect to saving as many animals at Rutherford as possible,’’ he said.

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