Coronavirus forces change to Million Paws Walk

RSPCA urges participants to keep fundraising.

The annual Million Paws Walk will go ahead this year despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but in a different format.

Instead of the usual public event, scheduled this year for 17 May, the RSPCA is asking participants to instead take their dogs for walks around their own neighbourhoods and backyards.

RSPCA Qld spokesman Michael Beatty said this year’s Million Paws Walk: Walk This May would continue to raise funds for the organisation whilst keeping walkers safe and healthy.

“Obviously we’d prefer that the walks could take place as normal, but these are uncertain times and we must adhere to government and health authority advice,” Mr Beatty said. “However, the funds raised through Million Paws Walks are vital to enable us to continue to care for the 54,000-plus animals seen at RSPCA Qld Animal Care Centres every year. 

“Over 14,000 of these are dogs have been surrendered, abandoned or seized by inspectors.

“These dogs are not as fortunate as your much-loved family pet. They often need to be de-sexed and vaccinated before they have the chance to find a new home.”

Mr Beatty said participants were still encouraged to fundraise in the leadup to the event with money used to support RSPCA’s work within the community, including caring for more than 124,000 animals that come through its shelters each year.

Walkers are encouraged to connect through social media by sharing photos of their dogs and walk routes using the hashtags #MillionPawsWalk and #MPWDOGSQUAD. 

Mr Beatty said those who had already bought tickets were encouraged to have their cost transferred to a tax-deductable donation, however those wanting a refund could contact RSPCA.

Individuals can go online to keep up-to-date with the latest information, sign-up for Million Paws Walk: Walk This May and buy merchandise.