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Animal group calls on council to manage pound

An animal rescue group has asked Campaspe Shire Council if it would consider taking over management of the Campaspe Regional Animal Pound to help reduce euthanasia rates.

RENEE THOMPSON May 28, 2014 7:31am

An animal rescue group has asked Campaspe Shire Council if it would consider taking over management of the Campaspe Regional Animal Pound to help reduce euthanasia rates.

Council recently put out a tender seeking a suitably qualified contractor to manage the pound, now run by the Lost Dogs’ Home.

The tender closed May 20.

About 10 members of the Echuca Animal Rescue Service were at last Tuesday’s Campaspe Shire meeting.

EARS spokesperson Jeraldine Parker put the group’s question to council during its allocated question time.

‘‘Has the Campaspe Shire Council investigated or considered the option of operating the pound itself, utilising the large number of volunteer resources available, like that which is operating in councils like Swan Hill and Mildura and seems to be running well?’’ she asked.

Council’s formal response at the meeting was muted because the tender process had not closed.

‘‘Unfortunately further comment cannot be made under the tender process at this point in time,’’ a council spokesperson said.

After the meeting, Mrs Parker said the group’s interest in a council-run pound was in response to the success of recent models in Swan Hill and Mildura which had seen lower ‘‘kill rates’’ when it came to the number of euthanised animals.

She said animal rescue groups were working closely with those pounds to rehome large numbers of animals and reduce euthanasia rates significantly.

Campaspe Shire mayor Ian Maddison said council had not considered the proposal, but was ‘‘seeking understanding from Swan Hill/Mildura councils about how they do it’’.

Cr Maddison called the issue of euthanasia rates at pounds a ‘‘very emotive argument’’.

‘‘No council wants to see unnecessary euthanasia,’’ he said.

He said much of the responsibility lay with pet owners to ensure pound rates were kept down.

‘‘It’s up to all animal owners to act in a way to minimise the need to euthanase animals.’’

Shire’s chief executive Keith Baillie said council was aware of the need to fulfil ethical duties as well as legal duties.

‘‘We seek to rehouse as much as possible,’’ he said.

‘‘The reality is Campaspe Shire is a strong advocate of meeting its responsibility in this regard.

‘‘The organisations that operate in this space, like the RSPCA and Lost Dogs’ Home, are reputable organisations and are aware of these matters.’’

Council provided 2012-13 statistics which showed of 574 dogs which entered the facility for the year, 327, or 57 per cent, were returned to their owners.

A further 136 dogs (24 per cent) were rehomed and just over 19 per cent (111) were euthanised.

Of 464 cats, 35 (8 per cent) were returned to owners, 140 (30 per cent) were rehomed and 289 (62 per cent) were euthanised.

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