Companion Animal Network Australia - CAN

Caring for the Nation's Animals

Animal welfare organisations have a responsibility to raise awareness of animal welfare issues, promote responsibility towards the welfare of animals and to participate in the development of codes, policies and programs aimed at maintaining high standards of sustainable animal welfare in Australia.

Working as a coordinated network to collect and share knowledge; deliver and share best practice programs, such as desexing and microchipping, and as a National body have a stronger voice when educating and informing the public on animal welfare issues.

For just this reason, in spring 2007, the Animal Welfare Leagues of Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, announced the formation of this brand new national organisation, Companion Animal Network Australia.

With over 200 combined years of experience in caring for animals in need, Companion Animal Network Australia has provided veterinary care to millions of animals whose owners love them but cannot afford their medical treatment and found loving homes for millions of lost, abandoned, surrendered and mistreated animals.

The national organisation is made up of a collaboration of state based Animal Welfare Organisations in South Australia,  Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria abd most recently Western Australia.

For more information visit


South Australia 

Animal Welfare League SA -

Formed in 1964 by a very special lady - Joy Richardson, the rescue shelters originally consisted of a cottage, two shops and a large un-kept garden in Norwood.  The cottage consisted of five rooms and was used for general administration and for raising the much needed funds to build more pens and exercise rows.

In 1966, the Lost Dogs Society an the Animal Welfare League began working together at Horsnell Gully, a four room cottage with 12 acres of land. 

As the numbers of lost and abandoned animals continued to grow, so did the AWL, eventually re-locating to its current extensive shelter facility in Wingfield in the mid-seventies.

Today the shelter operates a busy schedule, with dedicated staff and volunteers looking after the thousands of stray and abandoned animals that come into the shelters every year.



Animal Welfare League QLD -

Dedicated to the care, shelter re-homing of dogs and cats, Queensland AWL first opened its doors to animals in need in 1959.  Today it has two re-homing centres and a fostering and rehabilitation program that’s second to none. 

The Animal Welfare League believes that education is the key to securing a brighter future for companion animals, and Queensland is leading the way with their professionally developed education programs and education centre, designed to inform current and future companion animal caretakers about responsible animal care.  



Dogs Homes of Tasmania -

The Tasmania Canine Defence League (TCDL) was first established in 1950. The TCDL is a non-profit organisation caring for Tasmania’s stray, lost and abandoned dogs. The first official Dogs’ Home opened at Derwent Park in 1957. The Devonport Dogs’ Home was established in 1969 and the Burnie Dogs’ Home in 1980. The current Hobart Dogs’ Home at Risdon Vale began operation in 1991.Approximately 5,000 lost, stray or abandoned dogs pass through the Dogs’ Homes each year. The majority are reclaimed or adopted out.



Lort Smith Animal Hospital  -

Established in 1935 by Mrs Louisa Lort Smith, a passionate animal welfare campaigner of the time, the hospital and shelters were set up to help care for the animals of people in need. 

The new state-of-the-art hospital, built in 2000, is the largest animal hospital in the Southern Hemisphere and provides veterinary care, rehoming services and emergency boarding for over 100,000 lost, abandoned, mistreated, sick and injured animals each year and our rescue shelters re-home around 5,000 animals every year.


Western Australia

SAFE Inc –

SAFE (Saving Animals from Euthanasia) Inc was established in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in Karratha, in February 2003 to address the lack of an animal rescue service for homeless cats and dogs. SAFE has a network of foster carers across Western Australia who care for animals until a new home is found, and does not place a time limit on adoptions, believing that a pet will be adopted by the right owner at the right time. SAFE is proactive in helping to bring about positive change in the areas which cause so many unwanted, abandoned and neglected dogs and cats and strongly supports and promotes desexing of all domestic pets.