Providing lifesaving rescue services to animals in need
Our dedicated rescue team is South Australia’s frontline emergency response for animals.
Every day, our small team of rescue officers are out on the road, saving injured, sick, trapped and distressed animals – often from rather precarious situations.
From birds and rats to goats and koalas, no job is too big, too small or too hard. Our determined rescue officers have plucked animals from hot cars, narrow chimneys, deep drains, raging floodwaters and busy roads, to name just a few. Read some of our animal rescue stories here.
Our Animal Ambulance is also sometimes called out to pick up injured dogs and cats for South Australia’s councils, before delivering them to a veterinarian for care.
Incredibly, these services are entirely funded by community donations. It’s only thanks to our supporters that we can keep our rescue officers and ambulances on the road, and be there when animals need us most.
What to do when you find an animal in distress
If you find an injured, sick or trapped animal, it’s important to approach carefully – and remember to place your own safety first.
Speak in a quiet tone and try not startle the animal. Remove any other animals or stressors, such as children, cars and pets. If it is safe to do so, cover the animal with an old towel or blanket to help reduce shock. Only move the animal if absolutely necessary, being careful not to cause any further injury, and place it in a dark, warm and quiet place.
Check if the animal has some visible form of identification, such as a collar tag. If they do, it’s important as a first step to try contact the owner before contacting RSPCA South Australia.
If the animal is not wearing identification and/or the owner is unavailable, please call RSPCA South Australia’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22.
If your own animal is sick or injured, and you fear you may not be able to afford vet bills, we urge you to take a look at both VetPay, a service helping finance vet treatment, and Pawssum, a home-visit vet service.
How to help injured and distressed native wildlife
RSPCA South Australia works with a number of partner organisations to rescue and rehabilitate injured native wildlife, including:
- Fauna Rescue SA, a volunteer non-profit organisation caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. Fauna Rescue carers are specialised in a number of native species, including koalas, kangaroos, possums, echidnas, bats, reptiles, tortoises, pelicans, birds of prey, magpies, ducklings and nectar feeding birds, such as honeyeaters and lorikeets.
- The Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO), a dedicated marine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisation. AMWRRO is South Australia’s only organisation licensed to rescue, rehabilitate and release all seals, all seabirds and all sea turtle species. They also work closely with other departments to rescue and release dolphin and whale species found entangled or beached.
If you find a native animal in distress, please call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22, and we will connect you to the best organisation to help.
What to do when you find a stray animal
Please note that only councils have powers relating to most stray animals in South Australia. So, if you find an uninjured stray animal, you must immediately contact the council where you found the animal. If that council is unresponsive, you can call RSPCA South Australia and we will do our best to help you make contact.
However, if the animal is injured, please immediately call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22. Our Animal Ambulance service can pick up injured dogs and cats for South Australia’s councils, before delivering them to a veterinarian for care.
Please also note that RSPCA does not have jurisdiction over animal-related noise complaints, such as dogs barking. Instead, please contact your local council for assistance.
How we help during emergencies and natural disasters
RSPCA South Australia is often called to assist animals in need during times of emergency. This includes responding to bushfires and floods, and to road accidents involving animals on a large scale, such as livestock truck accidents.
As pet owners, there are several key steps you can take to help keep your animals safe during emergencies. For full details on how to prepare your Pet Emergency Plan, please click here.