According to RSPCA Queensland, the RSPCA sold an application called ‘Shelterbuddy’ to other animal welfare organisations across the US, Canada and New Zealand, taking its protection of animal rights and welfare to a whole new level.
The program, which offers a database for the prevention of animal cruelty and the monitoring of an adopted animal’s welfare, has taken the organisation by surprise. In fact, copies of the game-changing application have even been sold to groups operating within Silicon Valley!
“It was a bit like selling ice to Eskimos,” RSPCA Queensland joked in a statement.
Initially, the program was designed to stop abusive owners from adopting more pets from the pound. The RSPCA was concerned that those who had been charged with animal cruelty could easily turn around and adopt other pets.
RSPCA Queensland chief executive Mark Townend explained the significance of this problem: “Unless we recognised them at the [shelter] counter we could adopt an animal out to them. That’s how the idea first started and it grew from there. We looked to America for an idea, we thought they’d have the answer and there was nothing over there either.”
After realising that no such software existed, the concerned executive began working on an idea for an all-encompassing app. “I came up with the idea, but I’m not a programmer,” Mr Townend explained. “Through our IT people – they found a couple of contractors to do it with us – and who would work cheap. I handed them a piece of paper with my thoughts.”
But how does the program help to protect animals? “Shelterbuddy is designed to look after the customer, being the person coming to a shelter from one end to the other,” Mr. Townend told the ABC. “So from the time they come in to surrender an animal, to adopt an animal, as a donor, as a volunteer, to manage and build a profile on that person, and of the animal, and basically track it through the lifetime and then the lifetime of the person that deals with that organisation.”
“It can tell if someone has adopted an animal, or volunteered, and if they’re up for a cruelty complaint at the same time,” he continued. “It really is the heart of the data for the whole organisation now – and pretty well most animal welfare organisations in Australia now as well.”
The program has since been sold in several Australian jurisdictions and across the world. The Oregon Humane Society in Portland, the Marin Humane Society of California, the San Diego Humane Society in southern California and the British Columbia SPCA in Canada (BCSPCA) all use the program and vouch for its effectiveness and capacity.
Among the first customers to get on board were the Oregon Humane Society in Portland, Marin Humane Society of California, San Diego Humane Society in southern California and the British Columbia SPCA in Canada (BCSPCA), all still using the system.
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