Why has this year’s Million Paws Walk been cancelled? 

Million Paws Walk is an iconic event and a strong brand for the RSPCA with many staff, volunteers, supporters and donors having enjoyed it over the last 25 years in WA. However, the simple fact is that although it is RSPCA WA’s biggest annual fundraising event, ever increasing costs mean it is now prohibitive to stage such a large-scale activity.   

Additionally, the reality is that that interest in Million Paws Walk, and therefore the amount of funds raised, has been declining for several years.  Last year’s RSPCA WA Million Paws Walk was a great day out and was well attended, but it still ran at a significant loss.  As a charity that relies on its supporters and donors for 80 per cent of its funding, we can’t in good conscience commit to running an event that ends up costing us more than it raises. 

Because we must focus all our resources on delivering our mission, and after a lot of evaluation and consideration, the decision has been made for this year’s Million Paws Walk to become a virtual event only, Walk This May. 

Times have changed since the first Perth walk in 1998 and Million Paws Walk is no longer seen as a unique opportunity nor very challenging. When it began, there were far fewer places where large groups of people could gather with their dogs and there weren’t the many competing walk/ride/run/swim fundraising events we see today.  All these factors have impacted on RSPCA WA’s ability to really raise funds from the event. 

What if I’ve already bought a ticket? 

If you have already purchased a ticket, you will be offered a refund, or the opportunity to convert your purchase price to a tax-deductible donation. Please keep an eye on your emails for details on how to activate either of these options. We would love it if you could help animals in WA by joining our virtual fundraising event, Walk This May

What if I’ve already started fundraising? 

Firstly – thank you for your dedication to the welfare of animals in WA. Your fundraising efforts will still go to RSPCA WA to support our work in rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals. Very soon, you will start receiving emails about our virtual event, Walk This May. Your current fundraising page will stay live, and you can continue to share the link with family, friends and colleagues to raise funds to help injured, abused, abandoned and sick animals while participating in Walk This May. To share your progress (and of course pics of your gorgeous pooch) join the Walk This May Facebook group with other WA animal lovers. 

What if I’ve already bought merchandise? 

Thank you for your purchase and we hope you enjoy the product. We would love to see you in the Walk This May Facebook group wearing it proudly while walking with your furry friend. 

Is there another way I can get involved to help animals in WA? 

Yes! We are still fundraising in May with our virtual event, Walk This May. If you are already fundraising for Million Paws Walk, your page will stay live, and you can continue to encourage you family, friends and colleagues to help reach your target to help animals in need in WA. You will soon start receiving emails with heaps of information and ideas about how to continue fundraising through our virtual event, Walk This May. If you are yet to sign up to become a fundraiser, please visit the Walk This May Facebook group

Why is RSPCA WA facing such financial pressure? 

As you are no doubt aware, the current economic climate, cost of living pressures, and housing crisis are placing ever increasing demands on RSPCA services.  Last year, calls made to the WA cruelty hotline topped 24,000 and investigations increased to over 7,000, both for the first time.   

Additionally, RSPCA WA itself isn’t immune to those economic pressures, with costs increasing across everything from utilities to fuel, fundraising costs, employment costs, specialist services, and medication.   

This financial pressure is all taking place against the backdrop of inadequate WA State Government funding for the inspectorate services RSPCA WA performs for the government.  Essentially, RSPCA WA enforces the Animal Welfare Act on behalf of the WA State Government, but they don’t provide enough funding for RSPCA WA to do so. 

The direct costs associated with delivering enforcement services last year, plus the costs associated with animal care, vet costs, prosecution costs etc. resulting from that enforcement work, were $4.6m. Of that, the State Government contributed $1.1m, RSPCA WA contributed $3.5m. 

Will Million Paws Walk return in the future? 

The simple answer is, we don’t know. Not in its current form probably because, as already explained, it is operating at a loss. However, we are certainly looking at different fundraising options for the future and will keep our followers up to date with developments. 

Where can I go if I still have questions? 

For further information, please email [email protected]