RSPCA NSW is committed to helping people, help animals.

Our Impact Report

After wrapping up the second year of our five-year Strategic Plan, we can proudly share that we’ve achieved so much. Thousands of animals across NSW were adopted, rescued and cared for. Our donors gave generously, volunteers worked tirelessly, and foster carers offered up their love and homes. And while our community gave their all, our staff did too, providing solutions and support within our means, and fighting to give every animal the chance they deserve.

The stories in this report mean progress. They show how much can be achieved by working together towards a common goal. While there’s still much more work to be done, these results are a high five from us to you. Together, we did it and we will keep going.


animals were cared for


cruelty cases were investigated


volunteers gave their time to help

Year in review

  1. NADIOC Week

    July, 2019

    In July, our Outreach Team were invited by the Purfleet Local Aboriginal Land Council to attend the NAIDOC Week event in Taree. The day was an incredible celebration of culture, achievements and community – and we felt honoured to attend.

    RSPCA NSW has enjoyed working with the Taree community over the past three years, most notably through the Indigenous Community Companion Animal Health Program (ICCAHP). The program provides subsidised desexing, vaccinations and general veterinary care to Aboriginal community members in regional areas across the state.

    Along with Taree, ICCAHP visited six communities in New South Wales this year, including Walgett, Kempsey, Brewarrina, Collarenebri, Toomelah and Boggabilla. The program is a collaboration between RSPCA NSW, local aboriginal land councils, municipal councils, local human service agencies and, most importantly, the communities.

    This year, through ICCAHP, 421 animals were vaccinated and 201 animals were desexed.
  2. Cupcake Day 2020

    August, 2019

    RSPCA’s Cupcake Day is the sweetest way to bake change! In August, animal lovers around the country whipped, stirred, baked and mixed to raise money to fight animal cruelty. In total, 2,753 generous supporters hosted a Cupcake Day bash in their workplaces, schools and homes.

    Barbara and the amazing little RSPCA supporters at Cherrybrook Preschool Kindergarten have been taking part in Cupcake Day for many years. In 2019, we tagged along to see what Cupcake Day looks like in their classroom, and filmed this sweet video.

  3. Drought Relief

    September, 2019

    The current drought impacting New South Wales has been continuing since mid-2017. The harsh, ongoing conditions have meant that more animals are finding it harder to access food and water, meaning our Inspectorate have been stretched even further. In order to address this need and have a stronger presence in more areas of the state, the Department of Primary Industries provided funding for five additional inspectors to help our team until 30 June 2020.

    RSPCA NSW was also involved in 23 Stock Welfare Panels alongside stakeholders such as the Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and the Rural Crime Investigators division of NSW Police. The panel finds best possible outcomes for livestock owners drastically impacted by the ongoing conditions, providing expert advice and assistance to owners who struggle with managing their livestock. Since 2018, Stock Welfare Panels have helped almost 28,000 animals.*

    Moving forward, drought or not, RSPCA NSW and the Inspectorate are committed to assisting owners and their animals to ensure their continued wellbeing.

    *Based on a recent figure provided by Department of Primary Industries.
  4. Celebrating our Vet Nurses

    October, 2019

    In October, we celebrated the hard work and dedication of our incredible veterinary nurses on National Vet Nurse Day. At RSPCA NSW, our brilliant vet nurses keep this place running. With an inimitable mixture of expertise and calm, they work tirelessly to make sure all our animals are safe and in good health.

    We don’t know where we would be without them!

    Special congratulations to Bec, who was nominated as Student Vet Nurse of the Year and RSPCA NSW Head Veterinary Nurse Claire for her nomination as Australian Vet Nurse of the Year.

    “RSPCA NSW has not only given me the opportunity to nurse animals back to health, but also to help those animals who have not had the best start to their life,” said Claire. “Also, being in a fantastic team environment and having the same values and beliefs is a highlight about working for RSPCA NSW.”

  5. Gilbert’s story

    November, 2019

    Gilbert the Husky puppy had some of the most horrific injuries we’d ever seen. For at least five days, the four-month-old had rubber bands tied around his muzzle so tight that it created a sore, gaping wound around the circumference of his mouth. In order to restore his muzzle, Gilbert underwent three specialist procedures to take the skin from behind his ears and stitch it to his nose.

    Inspector Tess continuously investigated the case. She conducted numerous interviews, and sought expert opinion form the vets who treated Gilbert but in the end, no one could be charged with the offences committed against him.

    Despite the devastating circumstances, Gilbert’s positive attitude never waned. While in foster, he showed bounding, unrequited love to his carer and RSPCA NSW Animal Ambulance Officer Brianna. Today, as a full-grown Husky, he has found his forever home and continues to show that same affection to his new owner.

    Thanks to the support of our donors, and the generosity and expertise of SASH veterinary hospital, Gilbert’s ending was a happy one.

  6. Our supporters to the rescue

    December, 2019

    We received a report in December about some ducks in Lugarno who required assistance – one of the poor ducks had fishing line wrapped around his foot. He was having trouble walking and was no doubt feeling very uncomfortable.

    Inspector Tyson responded to the call to help the ducks but after a week of trying to capture the poor fellas, he was running out of ideas. That was when Matt and Greg, two incredible members of the public, offered their help and met Inspector Tyson and Inspector Annemarie at Lugarno with their inflatable kayaks.

    There are times when you can get the job done yourself and then there are times you may need a helping hand. Thanks to the help of Matt and Greg, our inspectors were able to safely capture the injured duck and treat him.

    We’re constantly reminding members of the public take note of any signs advising members of the public not to fish in areas with ducks as fishing lines (and hooks!) are a real and persistent danger to these sweet creatures.

  7. Bushfire Response

    January, 2020

    The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires were unlike anything we’ve ever seen. As the fires began their rampage, RSPCA NSW was immediately triggered to assist in caring for animals at nine evacuation centres around the state. Our inspectors were tasked with emergency response call outs and welfare checks, our veterinarians and animal care staff treated animals on the ground, and our Community and Outreach Team assisted in 32 communities around the state to help people and their animals get back on their feet. All of this culminated in 15,930 face-to-face hours on the ground, with 1,076 households given supplies and vet treatment through a dedicated bushfire assistance form, and 2,800 calls answered through our bushfire assistance line.

    Spurred on by the devastating loss of life and habitat, generous supporters from all around the world donated in droves to help fire-affected pets, wildlife and livestock. Our friends at RSPCA UK graciously joined in too, raising critical funds for Australian animals.

    The stunning friendship from our donors meant that RSPCA NSW could continue helping animals and their owners for months after the fires subsided, providing food, supplies and treatment at pop-up relief points. Looking to the future, this support allowed for RSPCA NSW to invest heavily in a number of wildlife regeneration programs, including the Platypus Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Taronga Zoo.

  8. Clear the Shelters 2020

    February, 2020

    Our most recent Clear the Shelters promotion in February resulted in 805 animals finding their forever homes. Much like previous years, the three-day event encouraged soon-to-be pet owners from all across the state to come and say hello to our adoptable animals.

    Each and every one of the adoption stories brought a tear to our eye, but none more than Kevin’s. Kevin the Great Dane had been with us for over a year – and was actually in our care the last time Clear the Shelters came around – but hadn’t had any luck finding a perfect match. Thankfully, just before the shelter closed on Sunday, the sweet and goofy boy was finally adopted.

    Since the promotion began in 2015, Clear the Shelters has resulted in 3,480 animals finding their forever homes. We’re so proud of how this wonderful program has encouraged more people to adopt and more animals to get their happy ending.

  9. COVID-19 Adjustment

    March, 2020

    By March, the threat of COVID-19 gave our organisation an enormous challenge to reckon with. To protect the safety of our staff and volunteers, RSPCA NSW shelters and op shops were closed to the public from the end of March until mid-June.

    This meant we couldn’t have people come to adopt our animals, our education programs would be postponed and our biggest annual fundraising event, Million Paws Walk, would be cancelled.

    However, what began as a series of insurmountable problems proved to be a lesson in adaptability.

    The ‘Adopt From Home’ program was launched, which saw 2,660 animals find new parents through virtual means before being transported to their forever homes. The School Holiday Program was unveiled online to a gaggle of enthusiastic students, and 2,610 supporters participated in ‘Million Paws Walk: Walk This May’ to raise money to fight animal cruelty from home.

    Our community of supporters came out in droves to face this challenge by our side and to be there for the animals when they needed them the most. Thank you for being up to the task!

  10. Our Virtual Classroom

    April, 2020

    Our School Holiday Program, usually held in our shelters, educates school-aged children about the RSPCA, animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. After moving online in response to the impact from the pandemic, the Virtual School Holiday Program garnered between 600 and 700 virtual supporters on Facebook! The educational content consisted of four virtual shelter tours, eight interviews with RSPCA experts and six DIY animal enrichment activity videos.

    After the positive feedback garnered from the program, the Education Team launched a Virtual Classroom for Term 2 with 299 members. The classroom includes resources, videos and activities for the budding vets, animal attendants and vet nurses out there. We love ushering in a new generation of animal lovers through our education initiatives.

  11. Chip’s new home

    June, 2020

    Chip the Dachshund was found locked in a garage without an aid to help him walk, meaning his paralysed legs became ulcerated and sore. After he was brought into our care by NSW Police, we tracked down his owner and found out she couldn’t afford to meet his needs. The Community Programs Team worked with the owner for months to find a solution but ultimately, she made the difficult decision to surrender him into our care.

    After months of rehabilitation, love from his foster carer Katie, and a new set of wheels, the cheeky Dachshund went up for adoption. It took a bit of work to find a family who could meet all his requirements but thankfully, his perfect match got in touch and he now lives happily ever after with his new owners.

    Chip was just one of 5,118 animals fostered by our brilliant foster carers this year. We’re so grateful for the wonderful carers who open up their hearts and homes to care for all kinds of vulnerable animals.

  12. National Volunteer Week

    May, 2020

    In 2019/20, our animals were helped enormously by the dedication of 1,188 wonderful volunteers. Our volunteers are the reason that RSPCA NSW is able to do what we do and they help out in so many ways – in our shelters, our offices, at our branches and even in their own homes. Thanks to their tireless help, day in and day out, thousands of animals get the care, love and protection they need.

    Maureen, who volunteers in the cattery at our Illawarra Shelter, has been with RSPCA NSW for nine years. She says the “best thing” is seeing the cats get adopted. “It’s great! You feel like going up [to the adopter] and hugging them and saying, ‘Thank you so much for taking them home!’”

    To each and every one of our excellent vollies, we want to say thank you! We hope you know how much we appreciate you, not just during Volunteer week, but every single week of the year.

Our Strategic Plan

Our current Strategic Plan focuses on three key pillars: being there for animals who need us most, empowering our community and nurturing a strong and passionate team. The stories in this report mean progress. They show how much can be achieved by working together towards a common goal. While there’s still much more work to be done, we are proud of what we have been able to achieve with your help.


Despite the year’s extenuating circumstances, our doors stayed open to animals in need across New South Wales. Thanks to the help of our donors, we’re continuously committed to our promise to serve, protect and care for abandoned, abused and unwanted animals in our state. This year, that manifested in caring for 26,809 animals, 842 ambulance call outs, 14,533 cruelty case investigations and 99 commenced prosecutions.


Often, in order to help animals, we need to offer support and assistance to the people who care for them too. Our donors help to invest in quality programs that positively impact animal outcomes by helping communities facing hardship. Through our Education and Community Programs, we conducted 297 community visits and 99 school visits, and gave emergency help to 1,047 pets. Furthermore, 4,363 animals were vaccinated and desexed via free and low-cost community initiatives.


Our staff and volunteers stayed positive, flexible and diligent throughout the year, working more efficiently and within our means in even the most trying of circumstances. We’re so unbelievably grateful for the support of our donors, who keep our nine shelters, four veterinary hospitals and one Care Centre running, among many, many more daily achievements. Special thanks is owed to our 1,188 volunteers, including those running our 22 volunteer branches, and 1,624 active foster carers for their tireless dedication and effort. 

All creatures great and small

This year, 26,809 unwanted, abandoned and mistreated animals turned to RSPCA NSW for help.

This includes the dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals in need who turn up on our doorstep, as well as a number of injured wildlife we supported during the bushfires. Throughout natural disasters and pandemic, our open-door policy remained, meaning we welcomed a plethora of different animals, all in varying degrees of health.

This open-door policy – one we’re proud to maintain – gives dignity to animals who have nowhere else to turn. Unfortunately, it also means that difficult decisions must be made about some of these animal’s lives, in the interest of their welfare and safety.

However, we’re pleased to say our rates of euthanasia are steadily decreasing. Over the past 10 years, feline euthanasia rates have decreased by 34% and canine euthanasia rates have decreased by 24%, meaning more cats and dogs have been rehabilitated and rehomed.

This year, we also worked with 82 rescue groups – up from 74 in 2019/20 – to give animals access to expert help and another chance of finding a suitable family.

As we move into another year of rescuing, protecting and caring for a wide array of precious animals, we hope to continue improving outcomes and doing everything in our power to find loving homes for more wonderful animals.

Letter from our President and CEO

To our valued supporters,

As we look back at the 2019-20 financial year, the word that comes to mind is ‘unprecedented’. We used it a lot when we saw the damage of the drought, and again when the Black Summer bushfires tore through the habitat of our wildlife. When the world had to stop because of an unknown virus, we found ourselves saying it again, wondering how the pandemic would impact animals searching for new homes.

It was a year of unexpected challenges, that’s for sure. One that we pulled through thanks to the loyal generosity of our wonderful supporters. Now more than ever, we want to express our sincere thanks to you for sticking by the animals in the good and bad times.

This year, that sense of comradery and community is our biggest takeaway, and we hope you can see it reflected throughout this report. The role that you played – whether it be through maintaining your regular donations, supporting our bushfire relief efforts, adopting a cat from home, or simply liking a post on Facebook – was instrumental.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank our volunteer Board Directors, our staff and our volunteers. We are constantly adapting the way in which our organisation is governed by having a board with a skillset that is both diverse and contemporary in their expertise. As a result, we have adapted our management structures in our constant pursuit of living within our means as an organisation, but also ensuring that we are delivering on our strategic objectives.

Finally, we’re thrilled to see construction well and truly underway at our Sydney Shelter, with brand-new facilities for our animals expected to be completed by March 2021.

As we look toward another year of highs, lows and animal fur, we want to thank you again for your continued support.


Dr Peter Wright

RSPCA NSW President

Steve Coleman


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