Frequently Asked Questions

Why is RSPCA building a new campus?

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This is part of a broader RSPCA strategy and commitment. There is a gap in wildlife care and specialist education, and concern around the next inevitable bushfire/disaster. Apart from being a long-term aspiration of RSPCA to contribute more to wildlife care, we are responding to a real need, as highlighted in the SA Bushfire Taskforce report.

  • We will be building a state-of-the-art campus that will include a wildlife hospital staffed 24/7. It will provide support to South Australia’s volunteer wildlife rescue groups, as well as members of the public who find injured or ill native animals and birds.
  • Every other Australian state has at least one wildlife hospital of significant capacity and there is an urgent need for one in this state. The tragic impact that the 2019-20 bushfires in the Adelaide hills and on Kangaroo Island had on animals including native fauna, gave further impetus to address this need.
  • The new campus will be the new RSPCA South Australia headquarters and shelter. We desperately need a new shelter – we were just waiting to see if it would be on the better-located O’Halloran Hill site or a Lonsdale redevelopment.
  • It will enable us to DOUBLE the number of animals in our care.

Where is the new RSPCA South Australia campus being built?

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RSPCA South Australia's new base will be constructed on 7-hectares of land on the northwest corner of Main South Road and Majors Road, in O’Halloran Hill. This part of Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta will be known as the community precinct. 

What is the design of the Animal Care Campus?

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The campus will have a number of buildings and wings:

  • a public wing, with an education centre and an adoption centre
  • the veterinary spaces, incorporating both the companion animal and wildlife veterinary clinics
  • new accommodation facilities for companion animals, comprising separate wings with environment-controlled enclosures for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other companion animals
  • a utilities area, with storage, maintenance and laundry facilities.
  • an operations wing, centralizing RSPCA South Australia's rescue, animal welfare inspectorate and volunteer services.

The architectural style will be single storey and low impact, designed to blend with the natural environment of the park.

All structures will incorporate sustainable features that minimise their impact on the environment, with attractive landscaping using native flora that supports bird-life.

How has the RSPCA been given access to the land?

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The South Australian Government has approved our lease of the site at a peppercorn rate of $1/year for 70 years. (The main base of every RSPCA around Australia is located on leased Crown land, except Victoria.)

What is the timeline?

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We commenced in the first part of 2023 and hope to see the campus completed and ready to move in, in April 2024. Further additions to the campus will occur as we are able to raise funding. 

What is the total cost of the project and how is RSPCA funding this? 

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The estimated total cost of the project is $28 million, with funding coming from a number of sources:

  • the sale of both our Stepney head office and Lonsdale shelter properties
  • donations made towards wildlife care during our 2020 Bushfire Appeal – there are some donations unspent that were made specifically to aid native wildlife, which will be designated to the native wildlife elements of this project
  • $1 Million contribution from the national RSPCA Australia Bushfire Appeal
  • RSPCA South Australia reserves: knowing that our current facilities were sub-standard and unable to accommodate all operations on the one site, we have built up reserves over many years from our generous donors with the sole purpose of building a new, future-proof animal care campus.
  • A $2.65m shortfall needs to be raised through a fundraising campaign

How can I support this project?

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You can make a donation to the project at any time by clicking here.

Sponsorshp packages to remember or celebrate a loved one, or commemorate your name or organisation are available. Click on GET INVOLVED

If you would like to know more about how you or your organisation can support this exciting project, please email or call 1300 777 221.

Is RSPCA moving away from caring about dogs and cats?

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Not at all, we will have state-of-the-art care facilities for cats and dogs that are a vast improvement on the current animal accommodation facilities at Lonsdale, some of which were built more than 40 years ago.

However, we will have fewer dogs and cats on site as we have changed our primary care model to be community (foster) care based, because animals are best cared for within a loving home environment. We already have an extensive foster carer network, with some animals being adopted from foster homes rather than from the Lonsdale shelter.

We will not reduce how many animals we look after – but we will continue our goal of having less in our shelter and more in supported foster homes.

Why is the RSPCA the best organisation to operate a wildlife hospital?

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It has always been part of our mission and an area we are active in. We are committed to being here for all creatures great and small: companion animals, farm animals and native wildlife. Our rescue team already comes to the aid of many native animals in need, and we already partner with a great network of volunteer rescue groups.

We have experience. RSPCA operates the largest wildlife hospital in Australia, located in Queensland. RSPCA Queensland opened its wildlife hospital in 2012, and their staff and volunteers now have a wealth of expertise to share with us in the areas of wildlife treatment and care.

We have the resources and skills to operate the wildlife hospital and facility once it is built.

Why is Glenthorne National Park the best location for RSPCA?

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We needed a location with enough space for the wildlife hospital, a new shelter, our headquarters and education facilities – this prominent, easily accessed corner of Glenthorne National Park meets that criteria.

The location needed to be somewhere zoned for the intended use, where our campus would cause minimal disruption to people, flora and fauna.

While we knew that being somewhere very central with a wildlife hospital AND a shelter would be difficult, we still needed to be in the metro zone as our Rescue and Inspectorate teams service all metro Adelaide. In addition, most of our volunteers who assist at the shelter reside in the southern metro area.

We were leased appropriate land by the South Australian government and are therefore able to deliver the project without the additional cost burden of purchasing land.

Apart from companion animals, will the new campus have facilities to accommodate livestock, horses and other large animals?

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No. We currently rely on external facilities to agist horses and other large animals, and these partnership arrangements with experienced large animal handlers will continue.

How will you ensure dogs and cats don’t negatively impact wildlife brought on to the site, or wildlife living within the national park?

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The Animal Care Campus is located within the community precinct of the park, across the road from the conservation precinct.

Accommodation for different species will be entirely separate from one another, with double-door access to prevent escape.

Veterinary facilities for companion animals and wildlife within the new vet centre will be completely separate from each other.

Combining care for wildlife and companion animals will give RSPCA the opportunity to speak with more credibility about the impact of dogs and cats on wildlife.

How will the noise from barking dogs be managed?

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Designed with input from acoustic engineers, the new dog enclosures will be sound-proofed, in addition to being climate-controlled for the comfort of the animals.

The number of dogs on the new campus at any one time will not be high. Many of the 185 dog enclosures on the Lonsdale site are no longer used because of the move to a new model of community-based foster care.

How many construction jobs will this generate?

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At its peak, the project will employ approximately 120 construction workers

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