What a load of bull! $4500 for a rescue dog
The RSPCA has denied profiteering from designer dogs, amid outcry over "appalling" and "disgusting" $4500 adoption fees for trendy canines rescued from backyard breeders.
The animal welfare group, which made an $8.7 million profit last year, has defended the hefty price tag on French bulldogs seized in a raid on an alleged puppy farm west of Caboolture last year.
It says the 11 dogs and their 13 pups needed vet treatment costing "thousands" of dollars to fix a range of health problems which dog the breed.
An RSPCA spokesman said the organisation had spent far more paying for surgery the dogs needed than it recouped in adoption fees.
But the high price - which dwarfs standard adoption fees of below $150 - has been slammed by French bulldog enthusiasts who have accused the RSPCA of "exploiting" the French bulldog's popularity and public demand.
Enthusiasts have taken to the Brisbane French Bulldogs Facebook page to vent their anger, saying healthy dogs can be bought from breeders for hundreds of dollars less.
"$4500!!! I know that RSPCA does amazing work but damn. This just isn't right," one woman posted.
Another wrote: "It's absolutely disgusting. They have advertised 8 Fb's for $4500 each which is a total of $36,000. That's a major profit."
A vet who performed airway surgery on the seized French bulldogs said the operations were done "at a substantial discount".
"We made no money at all on this. And no our costs were NOT $4500," he told Brisbane French Bulldogs followers.
A prominent Queensland French bulldog breeder said: "The pricing on these dogs is outrageous. It's created the biggest backlash that I've seen in a very long time."
French Bulldog Club of Queensland secretary Kelly McClelland said she would not pass judgment on the RSPCA's pricing but her organisation typically sold young and healthy rescue dogs for between $1000 and $1500, with older dogs sometimes given away.
"All we want to make sure is that the dog has the best life," she said.
Brisbane woman Morgan Stone and her husband fostered and later adopted one of the French bulldogs seized in the raid, Gigi.
But she said that even the $2500 she paid was "very high" given Gigi's age and her raft of ongoing medical issues, which were costing hundreds of dollars a month.
"I was faced with the (decision) to either pay the adoption fee or watch someone else pay it," Mrs Stone said. "After everything she'd been through, we're the only home that she knows and we couldn't bear to let her go."
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said they were not exploiting French bulldogs and were selling them "too cheaply" given the amount spent on care.
"They have cost us a fortune - we're thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket," he said.
Originally published as What a load of bull! $4500 for a rescue dog