The RSPCA, once on the brink of closure in Tasmania, is doing better financially, says its departing chief.
Dr Andrew Byrne will leave at the end of March after buying a veterinary practice at St Helens.
He has been lauded for saving the animal welfare organisation and ensuring it has a sound future.
RSPCA president Alexandra Garrott praised Dr Byrne's "respect and passion for the mission of the RSPCA".
"Andrew has been the most committed and amazing leader through a time of change for the RSPCA," Ms Garrott said.
"He has refocused the RSPCA on our core business which is protecting Tasmana's animals in most need."
Dr Byrne, who has been involved with the RSPCA since 1986 came to Tasmania in 2016 and did two jobs - chief veterinarian and chief executive.
He said the organisation had been in deep financial trouble four years ago.
"We could have folded," Dr Byrne said.
"We had big leaks in our Mowbray and Mornington operations.
"We had no money and had to pay $60,000 a fortnight on staff."
"This year's budget is looking a lot prettier. We've got to be careful though but we have a board that is very smart."
"We had no money and had to pay $60,000 a fortnight on staff."Dr Andrew Byrne
The number of RSPCA employees has been more than halved to about 14 full-time equivalent staff.
But Dr Byrne has nothing but praise for the workers.
"The team now is better than any I've ever seen working together," he said.
The chief vet is also pleased at the success rate for prosecutions of Tasmanians who mistreat their animals.
"We've not always had a full contingent of inspectors but we do now and we have a prosecutor too," Dr Byrne said.
He said it was vital the RSPCA got back to its roots.
"We were set up after new laws in 1877 made animal cruelty a crime," Dr Byrne said.
"The animal protection society was set up in 1878 in the south to raise money for an inspector after the laws came in and then a branch was formed in Launceston.
"We have to continue to protect animals and in the 21st century it is about more than just sheltering animals."
Dr Byrne has noticed an increase in people seeking help because of incidents of family violence and homelessness.
"We have people in domestic violence situations and going to prison or simply can't afford their pets who are asking for help," he said.
"We're seeing more of it and it could be that people care about their animals more."
Dr Byrne believe laws on animal cruelty can always be improved and expects the cat management act will "get better" in the coming years.
The 60-year-old Dr Byrne is looking forward to his "sea change" and plans to continue his involvement with the RSPCA.
The RSPCA said it was sorry he was leaving "but know the thousands of people whose animals he has treated over many years will support his sea change".
"Andrew leaves the RSPCA at the end of March 2020 in a strong position with its focus, above all, on its core mission," a statement said.