Million paws put hands in pockets to help animals

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
RSPCA Geraldton branch president Steve Duda with secretary treasurer Nola Bellwood and her son Clayton Bellwood, with Poppy, 10, and Inara, 18 months.
Camera IconRSPCA Geraldton branch president Steve Duda with secretary treasurer Nola Bellwood and her son Clayton Bellwood, with Poppy, 10, and Inara, 18 months. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

The RSPCA is looking to local dog lovers to help them fund another year’s worth of animal cruelty investigations, by opening their wallets at Geraldton’s annual Million Paws Walk this month.

Last financial year, the animal charity examined 6057 cases of WA animal abuse, which led to 16 people slapped with 23 charges.

Only 11 of that number were prosecuted successfully.

Geraldton RSPCA president Steve Duda said raising money for cruelty investigations was important but he was also looking to create a fun atmosphere for families and their furry friends.

“It’s great for families to enjoy the outdoors with their pets,” he said.

“We put on a pet parade as well and gave out prizes for things like biggest dog, smallest dog, waggiest tail, best-dressed dog.

“Sometimes people bring other pets.

“We had a pony one year and a cat which caused a bit of a ruckus.

“Then we have old dogs that can’t really walk so their owners push them in prams.”

Mr Duda said Geraldton organisers were expecting about 200 people to participate in the walk, which, over the past decade, has raised about $10,000 for RSPCA activities.

Online registration fees across WA have already popped $13,000 into the RSPCA’s piggy bank.

Chief executive Iain Torrance said donations were responsible for 90 per cent of charity activity and work wouldn’t be possible without people emptying pockets.

“This work simply couldn’t continue without the community’s generous support for events like Million Paws Walk.

“Money raised through fundraising and on the day really will change the lives of animals suffering cruelty and neglect.”

Registrations for the May 19 event will begin at 9am from Marina Park and the walk will continue 4.5km along the Beresford foreshore.

There will also be a variety of community stalls located at Marina Park until 1pm.

Million Paws walks will also be held in Port Denison and Shark Bay.

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