This award recognises individuals who have changed animals’ lives by volunteering.

Presented thanks to market leaders in doggy apparel Huskimo. 

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Yasmin Hunter RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Yasmin Hunter (Gold)

Yas began volunteering with wildlife in 2006 and has been going above and beyond ever since. She now has a paid role at Darling Range Wildlife Shelter, but volunteers over 30 extra hours each week to help rescue, care for and release animals. There are many examples where trapped wildlife have only survived due to her determination and grit. A standout story this year was when Yas led the relocation of 171 swans from Forrestdale Lake. From meticulous planning and enlisting the help of various community groups, to arranging care for the 98 swans who required rehab–Yas was involved in every aspect of this massive achievement.


Suzanne Strapp RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Suzanne Strapp (Gold)

Suzanne has devoted 10+ years to wildlife welfare. She has been president of FAWNA for five years, and in 2019 became the driving force behind new research into post-release survival rates of the critically endangered western ringtail possum. From concept to hands-on support, Suzi has been involved every step of the way. Now Suzi has her sights set on establishing a 300-hectare Biodiversity Park, Wildlife Hospital and Research Centre in the South West for the benefit of plants and animals. To date, Suzi has helped fundraise over $46,000 for the venture–all while being a dedicated mother of three and hands-on wildlife carer.


Amanda Licari - RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Amanda Licari (Silver)

Amanda has been a foster carer for more than 10 years and has saved the lives of countless animals. She specialises in neonatal kittens and those suffering health issues, including spinal and limb defects requiring physiotherapy. For Deedlebug Cat Rescue, Amanda works around the clock, sometimes bottle feeding kittens every 45 minutes, and using an ICU incubator and oxygen machine. In the past year alone, she has cared for over 90 felines, doing over 3000 bottle feeds. Once her foster babies are adopted, Amanda continues to go above and beyond–even sending new owners a happy ‘gotcha day’ message on their adopt-aversary.


Elizabeth Helliwell RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Elizabeth Helliwell (Silver)

This incredible volunteer for Native Animal Rescue is an expert in our feathered friends. She has given more than 3600 hours over the past six years and is an incredible source of knowledge and experience. Elizabeth is now the black cockatoo manager at the rescue. She travels all over Perth saving injured and distressed birds from roads, parks and backyards and arranging urgent vet care. Elizabeth devotes all her spare time and energy to helping native animals–picking up extra volunteer shifts and spending her free moments collecting foliage to enrich the bird enclosures. Last year she helped release over 30 birds back into the wild.


Natalie Plunkett RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Natalie Plunkett (Silver)

Natalie has been the brains and heart behind several rescue groups across Perth over the last 10 years. She is a force for dogs in need and was nominated by a Perth vet, who alone has treated almost 200 pups brought in by Natalie over the years. The clinic praised her drive, dedication, self-sacrifice, and grittiness. They say her passion is clear from the moment you meet her, and she will unflinchingly make tough decisions in the interest of animal welfare. Today, Natalie runs her own rescue–single-handedly taking in about 100 dogs a year and organising all their vet work and rehoming.


Roberta Vlaar RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (Silver) 2022Roberta Vlaar (Silver)

Roberta has been saving animals for many years, but in 2020 she started documenting her efforts as Little Rescue online. She has saved hundreds of animals, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and fishbut Roberta’s passion is for birds, who are among the most overlooked pets. She built a massive aviary at her home, which is being constantly improved. She even asked for donations to fund upgrades for her 40th birthday present. Roberta takes in birds from owners who can no longer care for them, then rehabilitates and rehomes them, often fundraising or covering costs herself. She lives and breathes her love for our feathered friends.


Amy Thomsen - RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers winner (bronze) 2022Amy Thomsen (Bronze)

Amy pours so much of her own money, time, and passion into helping horses. She’s been doing this for years, but made it official 12 months ago, setting up her own charity called All 4 Hooves on a property in Albany. She is hands-on with everything–collecting horses, booking vet care, educating owners, organising rehoming, working with larger rescue groups, and keeping the property up to scratch. Many of the horses Amy helps may have otherwise been euthanised due to owner neglect, health/money issues, or because they couldn’t be rehomed. Horse welfare is a big issue in the Great Southern region, so Amy’s efforts are extremely valuable.


Janet Thomas - RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Award for Volunteers Special Commendation 2022Special Commendation: Janet Thomas

Janet’s volunteering didn’t strictly fit into these awards, which recognise efforts to help animals in WA, but the committee was so moved by her nomination that they opted to award her a Special Commendation.

Janet is the founder of Animal Aid Abroad–a charity she started after witnessing the poor treatment of working animals while living in Egypt. More than 14 years later, AAA run projects and initiatives in 11 different countries. The organisation assists hundreds of abused, sick, and injured working animals in very poor and difficult regions by partnering with local organisations to improve conditions for horses, donkeys, mules, bullocks, camels, and other animals. In 2020, to highlight the heartbreaking plight of these animals, Janet walked over 4100km across Australia, raising over $160,000 in the process!


Meet the other Animal Welfare Award winners