RSPCA NSW rehomes record-breaking 775 animals in one weekend

92% of animals available for adoption state-wide have found their furever homes as Clear the Shelters adoption promotion breaks all records

In the most successful adoption weekend the animal rescue charity has ever seen, RSPCA NSW have rehomed 775 animals across the state, and 2,792 across the country in a single weekend.

2016 saw 583, or 81% of RSPCA NSW rescue animals rehomed during Clear the Shelter, while 2017 saw a whopping 90% of available animals find their forever homes. This year the promotion went national[1] and saw more animals rehomed in a single weekend than ever before in RSPCA history.

  • NSW – 775 animals adopted, 92% clear
  • QLD – 1,059 animals adopted,
  • VIC – 634 animals adopted, 85% clear
  • SA – 195 animals adopted, 100% clear
  • Darwin – 76 animals adopted, 84% clear
  • ACT – 53 animals adopted, 81% clear.

“There were emotional scenes and tears shed by staff as long-stay animals found their forever homes, and an energy and excitement in our shelters as beautiful rescue animals went off with their beaming new families. It’s honestly a feeling you cannot describe,” comments RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman.

“We want to thank everyone that opened their hearts and homes to a new forever family member on the weekend, and thank you for your patience as processing times were several hours, lines were long, and on Sunday kennels were empty; and a huge thank you to our hardworking staff and volunteers that made it all happen.”

Despite reduced adoption fees of $29, all normal adoption procedures still applied, with all animals desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, vet checked and processed by behaviour experts. Adoptions were processed by trained staff to ensure every single animal found its perfect match – some taking hours and including meeting existing pets and all family members.

“The results this weekend across the country are nothing short of amazing. This is a 100% increase on a ‘normal’ adoption week in February and we did it in just three days,” comments RSPCA NSW Executive Manager of Animal Care Services Brendon Neilly.

“The majority of adopters were already looking for a pet, but special adoption promotions like this give people that extra incentive to adopt with a rescue charity like the RSPCA, instead of shopping online or with backyard breeders. Whatever we can do to convince people to adopt not shop is a worthwhile investment.”

All available Australian and overseas research shows that lowered adoption fees – even free adoptions – in fact actually lower return rates, and do not affect welfare outcomes for the animals.[2][3][4] RSPCA NSW closely monitored this promotion in 2017 and found return rates and welfare outcomes were outstanding and on par with regular adoptions. RSPCA NSW is committed to again doing extensive follow-ups up to six months after adoption[5] to ensure all animals have gone to their perfect forever homes.

A menagerie of animals went home with their new families over the weekend, some even having spent more than 300 days in RSPCA care. Some of the beautiful tails of adoption include:

Clear the Shelters

Turbo was adopted from our Tuggerah Care Centre after 4.5 months waiting in adoptions. The Hollis family fell in love and looks like Turbo has too!


Clear the Shelters

Caramel the goat is going home to some acreage with 12 other goat brothers and sisters and some llamas! Caramel was surrendered to our Broken Hill Shelter in December 2017. After no interested, she was transferred to Illawarra in January to hopefully give her a better chance of being adopted. Catherine and her family are goat-mad over their new family member.

Clear the Shelters

Matey was adopted from our Somersby Shelter on the Central Coast after 317 days in RSPCA care. He was surrendered to us with his sister and their 8 puppies who all found their new families quickly, leaving him behind. Matey was one of our longest stay residents and there were quite a few tears from staff as Adam and his family welcomed Matey with open arms.

Clear the Shelters

Angel is a stunning cat who had to have her ears removed due to skin cancer when she came into our care at the Hunter Shelter. She’s a very special cat and staff were ecstatic to see her go home with her new mum Teagan on Saturday after being in RSPCA care for over 70 days.















Clear the Shelters

Big Kev is a very special case and our longest resident. He came in through our Inspectorate in December 2016 after having a really rough start to life. He had been in foster care from June 2017 as he wasn’t coping in a shelter environment. He was available for adoption from foster which made it difficult for him to meet families not being in the kennels as families wandered by (they would need to make an appointment for him to be brought in). Big Kev finally found his perfect match on the weekend with Gillian and her family. After such a long journey with us, the staff were very emotional to see this special big boy finally go home.

Clear the Shelters

Thor first came into our Orange Shelter in September 2017 as a stray before being transferred to our Blue Mountains Shelter for adoptions. He was the Shelter’s longest resident and recently had been struggling in the shelter environment with anxiety and behavioural issues. Vets prescribed him behavioural medication to help him cope. Wayne and his partner drove from Wentworth Falls to meet Thor after reading his profile on They came in knowing about the struggles that he had been having and that he would need some extra special TLC and that he would need to stay on medication while he was transitioning into his new home. Wayne and his partner spent time talking to behavioural vets at the Shelter so they were fully prepared. Blue Mountains RSPCA staff were really emotional to see Thor go home, having spent so long waiting and having so much love and time invested in him by staff.

























High res images of successful adoptions and empty kennels can be downloaded here and you can see a little video of our empty Sydney Shelter here. For lots more happy new families, check out our Facebook album from Friday here and Saturday here.

RSPCA NSW state-wide results

Total adopted Still available for adoption % cleared
Blue Mountains 25 2 birds, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 fowl 78%
Central Coast 53 1 cat, 1 goat 96%
Coffs Harbour 28 4 dogs 88%
Hunter 167 2 dogs, 1 goat, 2 horses 97%
Illawarra 73 10 birds, 1 dog, 1 cat, 1 fowl 85%
Orange 30 0 100%
Port Macquarie 34 7 cats 83%
Shoalhaven 41 1 dog, 1 cat, 1 rabbit 93%
Sydney (Yagoona) 152 1 bird, 5 dogs, 5 cats, 1 fowl, 1 pig, 1 rabbit 92%
Sydney (Rouse Hill) 17 0 100%
Tuggerah 25 1 dog 96%
Petbarns 130 11 cats across 30 locations 92%
TOTAL 775 67 92%


Those that missed out on the weekend due to the huge success of the campaign, are invited to visit us again next weekend. “Unfortunately due to the nature of our work and our open door policy, we have a constant influx of stray, abused, neglected and unwanted animals coming through our doors which means that our kennels and enclosures will not stay empty for long at all,” concludes Coleman.

To view all the animals still available for adoption across the country, head here.

For all FAQs about the promotion, please visit:

[1] Promotion excluded WA and Tasmania



[4] RSPCA NSW Report, Relationship Between Feline Adoption Fees, Costs and Days in Care, July 2013

[5] Vast majority of returns happening within the first week of adoption

For more information, or an interview with a RSPCA NSW spokesperson, please contact Stefania Kubowicz
Mobile: 0488 905 353 | Email: