date: Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 8:46 PM
Dear Dr Woods,
We write to you as the apparent Queensland agency Chief Executive with responsibility for the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld). A letter (attached) dated November 2017 has been shared via social media and purports to be from one your RSPCA Inspectors acting under the authority of that Act. The letterhead and layout of the letter look professional and genuine.
The letter is deeply critical of recreational hunting and threatens penalties under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) for the use of dogs in tracking and bringing down what are notoriously dangerous feral pigs. The letter trivialises and disparages the role of hunters in managing feral animal populations because they are not ‘coordinated’.
The letter also says flatly “The RSPCA is opposed to recreational hunting…”
This is almost identical language to what the RSPCA (Australia) has stated at http://kb.rspca.org.au/Is-
Our first questions to you:
1. Is the letter genuine or at least similar to genuine letters the RSPCA is issuing?
2. Supposing the letter is real, is enforcing a political opposition to hunting (which is a legal activity) a fair and professional use of the statutory authority you have granted to the RSCPA Qld as ‘inspectors’ who can wield power under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) over people who own animals, including hunting dogs?
Who are inspectors?
This matter caused us to look briefly into who could be appointed an inspector under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld). People can apparently be appointed as inspectors from the ranks of those “employed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland Incorporated“. Unfortunately, that body corporate appears not to have existed since October 2016. A new corporate entity, being a company limited by guarantee, has apparently replaced the Queensland Association. You can read the RSPCA Qld’s admission of that here.
Our remaining questions are:
3. Are RSPCA inspectors validly appointed under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) where they are employees of the new body corporate, given that body is not apparently not recognised by the Animal Care Act as an employer of inspectors?
4. In your view, would people who were charged by inspectors under the Animal Care Act be entitled to raise as a defence in court that those purported inspectors had no authority under the Animal Care Act?
5. As a not-for-profit sanctioned by your agency and noting the previous and current RSPCA bodies corporate are different entities, but have shared the same ABN and appear to have simply updated their name on the Australian Business Register, do you consider there is a risk they have committed an identification offence under section 23 of the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth) by recycling an ABN between two distinct bodies corporate and identifying the new body as the old?
We were struck by what seems to be a strange pattern of activity by the RSPCA Qld. We await your advice.
For Law Abiding Firearms Owners Incorporated