For Sale signs will soon be installed in our Stepney administrative offices and at our Lonsdale shelter – yes, we are preparing to move! But first we need a new house, and until it is built we will be renting both properties to buyers.
The sale of these properties is part of the fundraising needed to make our new purpose-built animal care campus – incorporating South Australia’s first dedicated wildlife hospital – a reality. We need a total of $23 million, and the revenue from these property sales will help partially cover this cost. We are also directing the remaining funds donated to our 2020 bushfire appeal, and we have set aside some funds knowing that we will need – at some point – to either redevelop the Lonsdale refuge or build a brand new installation. We are very happy that the latter is what will happen!
Lonsdale has served us well for over 40 years, but it is located in an isolated industrial area – this is no longer an acceptable area to keep our animals. And the standards of the shelter, built largely in the 1980s, no longer meet the standards required to accommodate animals.
Some pens flood in the winter rendering them unusable, and it’s a battle to keep our dogs warm in the winter and cool in the summer while housing them in current and outdated kennels. Meanwhile, our veterinary team operates in the cramped rooms that were once a private home. Providing the best animal care in these substandard facilities is a daily struggle for our small team of experts and the over 1,000 amazing volunteers who help them. It’s definitely time to move!
A new era in animal care is coming
We currently treat approximately 8000 animals per year. With our new Animal Care Campus, this figure is set to double as RSPCA SA – for the first time – provides veterinary care to native animals and birds. They will come to us through our state’s dedicated network of volunteer wildlife rescue groups and members of the public who encounter wildlife in need of veterinary care.
We will plant a nourishing forest for these animals which will not only provide them with their natural food source but also furnish their enclosures during their rehabilitation.
In addition to wildlife, the new campus will be an education center that deepens our community’s collective understanding of animal sentience and best animal care practices, informed by the latest scientific studies. Veterinary students and practicing veterinarians will also have the opportunity to gain skills and experience in the treatment of native animals.
An important step
Our CEO, Paul Stevenson, recently signed the lease agreement with the state government for the seven-hectare site we will be building on, prominently located on the corner of South Road and Majors Road in O’Halloran Hill. It was a very important step. The land now officially and legally belongs to the RSPCA South Australia for the next 70 years!
All that remains is to design and build the best animal care centre, wild animal hospital and animal welfare education center in Australia. With the support of our animal-loving community, we can do just that – and we hope we can all get moving, animals and humans, by the end of next year!