DOG-LOVING PREMIER MOVES TO END SENSELESS KILLING

Media Release, Queensland Government, June 8, 2008

In an effort to reduce the number of cats and dogs being put down every year, Premier Anna Bligh today revealed a voluntary two-year local government trial and plans to make registration and microchipping of dogs and cats mandatory.

 Ms Bligh said there were thousands of unwanted cats and dogs without homes that had to be put down every year.

 “As a dog lover, it is very sad to hear of the senseless killing of thousands of healthy cats and dogs every year because there are no homes for them.

 “I know RSPCA and Animal Welfare League staff, who are often charged with this difficult task, suffer a great amount of distress at having to put down these healthy animals.

“As a society, we need to do better,” she said.

 In July last year, the Government released a discussion paper titled Managing Unwanted Cats and Dogs.  Over 5,300 people and organisations responded.

 “There was overwhelming support from Queenslanders to improve the system of pet ownership in Queensland and identify ways to effectively reduce euthanasia rates,” Ms Bligh said.

 “Queenslanders want to see an end to the senseless killing of these animals, and as Premier – so do I.”

 “Today, I am announcing a $500,000, two-part package.

 “Firstly, I am calling on three local councils to volunteer in a pilot program that will trial a variety of methods aimed at increasing the number of cats and dogs that are being desexed and responsible pet ownership.

 “Up to $380,000 will be made available for this two-year trial, where these councils will develop a program of incentives in their community.

 “This could include councils piloting registration software, working with local vets to provide discounted or free desexing, offering heavy registration discounts or even introducing by-laws that make desexing compulsory.

 “We want local government to be creative and explore innovative measures during the trial to find the most effective model of reducing euthanasia rates, which could be adopted by councils across the state.

“A $75,000 community education campaign will also be delivered in close consultation with the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups, encouraging responsible pet ownership and voluntary desexing of cats and dogs.

 “The Government will also invest $45,000 in a Code of Practice for Pet Shops, setting standards for the care and management of animals at point of sale.”

 Ms Bligh said in addition to these immediate measures, legislation would be introduced by the end of the year to make local registration and microchipping compulsory in all parts of the State.

 “Other than the Northern Territory, Queensland is the only state in Australia that does not have legislation to mandate registration and/or identification of cats and dogs.

 “Owning a pet is a rewarding but serious responsibility and through the consultation process, Queenslanders have demonstrated overwhelming support for mandatory registration and microchipping.

 “There are a number of larger councils, like Brisbane City, Sunshine Coast and Cairns that already have a successful registration system in place.

“We will work closely with local government in coming months on the best way to introduce systems in the relevant areas that don’t already have them, drawing on the wealth of knowledge that exists in those larger councils.”

 Sunday, 8 June 2008 Media: 3224 4500 (Premier’s office)

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