News

LISTEN: Volunteer's fears surrounding RSPCA pound takeover

DON'T FEAR: Damon Osborne has been worried he won't be allowed to volunteer at the Ipswich pound anymore, but the RSPCA says he will be welcomed after the September 30 takeover.
DON'T FEAR: Damon Osborne has been worried he won't be allowed to volunteer at the Ipswich pound anymore, but the RSPCA says he will be welcomed after the September 30 takeover. Rob Williams

VOLUNTEER Damon Osborne loves animals and he's afraid that when the RSPCA takes over the Ipswich pound, he'll won't be allowed back.   

For the past two years Damon, who has autism, has been spending at least two days a week helping out the AWLQ staff.   

His aunt Shirley McIntosh says the experience has given him more confidence, both with animals and people. 

  The staff have become like family for Damon and this week he has been watching them packing up in preparation for the hand over on September 30.  

It's been emotionally stressful, made more so by the fact Damon isn't sure if the RSPCA will be as accommodating and welcoming to volunteers like him.   

"I love animals. Being around them makes me feel good and really happy," Damon said.   

"I am sad the AWLQ has to leave. They're so friendly and I'm worried the RSPCA might be more strict."   

Damon has written a letter to the mayor begging him to stop the AWLQ leaving after they lost the council's animal management contract to the RSPCA.   

He's yet to receive a reply, but RSPCA CEO Mark Townend says Damon should rest easier, knowing the RSPCA advocates for people like him to be volunteer in their centres.  

"We have run volunteer programs for people with disabilities for years and it won't be any different in Ipswich," Mr Townend said.   

DON'T FEAR: Damon Osborne has been worried he won't be allowed to volunteer at the Ipswich pound anymore, but the RSPCA says he will be welcomed after the September 30 takeover.
DON'T FEAR: Damon Osborne has been worried he won't be allowed to volunteer at the Ipswich pound anymore, but the RSPCA says he will be welcomed after the September 30 takeover. Rob Williams

 "For people who are already volunteering, they should continue to come into the centre as usual.  

"We will have to run through our induction, but other than that we're hoping for a seamless transition and that includes keeping the volunteers."  

The RSPCA is also planning to roll out its 'Happy Paws, Happy Hearts' program in Ipswich.  

It's a training program specifically designed to help people build confidence and interact with a wide range of animals from horses to snakes, and everything in between.   

Topics:  awlq, ipswich, ipswich city council, rspca



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