The following may be attributed to Ben Cave, CEO RSPCA WA. 

RSPCA WA has made the heartbreaking decision to cancel this year’s Million Paws Walk amid increasing cost-of-living pressures and mounting demands for the organisation’s services. 

Last year, calls made to the cruelty hotline topped 24,000 and investigations increased to over 7,000 for the first time ever, while costs rose exponentially across all areas of the organisation. 

Everything from utilities to fuel, fundraising and employment costs, specialist services and medication have gone up in recent times.  

This financial pressure is all taking place against the backdrop of inadequate 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 the animal welfare organisation 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.  

The simple fact is that although this is our biggest annual fundraising event, ever increasing costs means 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. 

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. 

I know many people see Million Paws Walk as iconic and will be sad it’s not running this year, but we have a responsibility to our donors, supporters, partners, funders, and the people and animals of WA to do the financially responsible thing and not spend money on a fundraising event that is projected to run at a loss. 

We have a responsibility to use our supporters’ monies wisely and this is a tough decision that must be made to ensure we can focus on our mission of rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals. 

Supporters who had already purchased a ticket will be offered a refund or the opportunity to make their purchase a tax-deductible donation. 

To replace this year’s event and to give fundraisers the opportunity to continue raising funds the organisation encourages people to participate in Walk This May, which is a virtual Million Paws Walk challenge.