The Animal Welfare League of Queensland Inc.
was founded in 1959 by a small group of people on the Gold Coast
who were determined to improve the facilities available for the
care of stray and unwanted animals. The founding president, Neil
Anderson, is still actively involved. Now, almost half a century
later, the Animal Welfare League has grown so big it is one of the
largest animal shelters in Australia. It is set on five acres of
land and has not only rehoming facilities with room for up to 70-80
cats, and the same number of dogs, but also has its own surgery,
shop and private clinic. Also on site is the Gold Coast City Pound
and the League is responsible for the care of all impounded animals.
The League is currently rehoming 4000 cats and dogs
per year with the rehoming rate growing every year. All animals
receive a thorough veterinary health check as well as a temperament
assessment. They are also desexed, vaccinated, wormed and flea treated.
In an effort to rehome as many animals as possible, the League has
two Pet Rehoming Centres, located in already existing pet supply
shops that don’t otherwise sell pets. This generous effort
by the shop owners, who receive no financial benefits for their
services, has resulted in more than 600 cats and dogs finding loving
new homes since the program started nearly a year and a half ago.
The League’s ultimate goal is to become a zero
euthanasia shelter and has created some very proactive desexing
incentives. Many people have taken advantage of the reduced price
desexing the AWL public clinic offers. Financed by donations generously
given specifically for the purpose of reducing the high number of
unwanted litters being born in the community, the Last Litter Fund
provides a free desexing voucher for the mother of every litter
of puppies or kittens surrendered to the AWL. As well, the Desex
Fund is designed to assist those who can’t afford even the
AWL reduced prices. The League is also working with the local government
and other stakeholders to introduce by-laws and procedures which
will develop more responsible pet ownership.
As with most charities the AWL relies solely on the
public’s generosity. This may take the form of monetary donations
and bequests; or donations of food & blankets to the refuge
or clothing and furniture to the Opportunity Shops. However, the
gift they rely on most of all is ‘time’. The AWL could
not continue to operate without the generous offer of so many volunteers
who spend their time improving the lives of the animals at the AWL
in many different ways, including cleaning and feeding the little
ones, grooming and socialising them or just helping to keep the
place running in a dozen other ways e.g. gardening, office work,
fund raising, and running the Opportunity Shops.
One of the big demand areas for volunteers is in supporting
the League’s Foster Care Program which has been operating
for some years now. This entails taking animals into your home and
caring for them until they are able to be rehomed permanently. Most
animals in need of foster care are under age or underweight kittens
that need time not only to reach eight weeks of age but also at
least 1kg in weight. This is a lovely way for children, and adults,
to experience the pleasure of having little ones running around,
chasing anything and everything and learning the multitude of things
that kittens must learn to survive in the world - all this without
adding to the already huge population of unwanted animals. Mums
with new born babies and injured or recuperating adults also regularly
need foster care. Fostering is a very important way of saving as
many lives as possible – without homes for the little and
sick ones there would be no option but to put them to sleep.
Another volunteer effort the League is very proud
of is the Enrichment Program. This program involves dogs being taken
to the beach twice a week for a lot of fun and exercise. It’s
a great outlet for the dogs and their walkers who are both able
to stretch their legs and enjoy fresh air, sand and great companionship.
Currently there are more than 30 walkers ranging from a young student
to a retired pilot and his wife.
The Golden Oldies program is designed to find loving
homes for dogs and cats aged approximately eight years and over
who enjoy good health and still have a few years of love and devotion
to give to their new family. Very often, that animal’s owner
is also elderly and through ill health may no longer be able to
keep their pet. It is very distressing for them to give up that
animal who may have been their closest companion for many years.
The League gives them comfort by striving to find a new home for
their companion and are asking for very special people who are able
to open their hearts and home to these wonderful pets.
The League strongly believes in teaching responsible
pet ownership to future generations. Consequently many different
student programs have been created including a 14 week Companion
Animal Certificate Course at the refuge in which students have hands-on
experience with every aspect of animal care, curriculum units to
be taught at school, volunteer programs for students, and presentations
in classrooms and during assemblies. One exciting project is the
Adopt-a-Pen program which allocates dog kennels to school so that
the students can assist the League is promoting the dogs in their
specific pen. This gives the students real responsibility and a
great satisfaction when the dogs find loving new homes.
For more information about the Animal Welfare League, please contact
us on (07) 5581 7600 or via email:
also visit our wonderful website: www.awlqld.com.au