Lake Macquarie’s new policy on feral animals

The Herald; BY DAMON CRONSHAW; 29 September 2009

FERAL and infant companion animals that council rangers pick up in Lake Macquarie will be euthanised quicker, under a new policy aimed at saving money and reducing stress on animals.

Lake Macquarie City Council approved last night an agreement with the RSPCA, under the Companion Animals Act, to euthanise animals within seven days at the RSPCA’s Rutherford pound.

A council report said this would improve animal welfare and reduce the stress animals experience in the pound.

An agreement between the council and the RSPCA, which expired in June, allowed feral and infant animals to be kept for a minimum of seven days before they were euthanised.

Holding the animals for seven days was an “extra burden” on the pound and an “unnecessary additional cost to council”, the report said.

The council kept the report’s financial details confidential.

Lake Macquarie council rangers took 684 dogs, 363 cats, five goats, three sheep and two horses to the pound in the 2008-09 financial year.

Of those, 150 were considered feral or infant and kept for seven days before being euthanised.

The report said feral and infant animals were usually not claimed, could not be socialised and were not suitable for “companion ownership or domestic housing”.

“Feral animals that are not suitable for domestic housing will be managed humanely and appropriately,” the report said.

The report noted the subject was “a highly emotive issue” for people concerned with animal welfare.

The RSPCA must consider several factors when determining whether a companion animal is feral or infant.

These include: capacity of staff to safely handle and store the animal; staff occupational health and safety; the prospect of rehousing the animal; the age of the animal; whether the animal has been microchipped; the animal’s condition and its ability to eat without assistance; the likelihood of survival.

Rangers tried to return animals to registered owners “where microchip data or tag information is current”.

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Filed under NSW, RSPCA NSW

3 responses to “Lake Macquarie’s new policy on feral animals

  1. companionanimalnews

    Some readers comments from the Heralds blog section on this article:

    “The high kill rate of dogs and cats in the Lower Hunter is disgraceful. Councils, State Government and the RSPCA need to educate the community on responsible pet ownership, and Councils need to enforce the law on registration and microchipping of pets. An obvious way forward on too many animals is compulsory desexing. This needs to be legislated.” Hunter Animal Watch

    “Don’t you think some type of licensing scheme for animal owners is overdue. Anyone preparing to purchase an animal must attend a short seminar on owning a pet to make sure all people are aware of what they are getting into. That would help eliminate the dog or cat or ferret for christmas then neglecting or dumping it after the novilty wears off.” NA

    “We educate people when they get a drivers license and what do some of them do? drive like idiots totally against what they have supposed to have learned, it would be the same if they introduced seminars before you purchased an animal. The RSPCA is supposed to be “for creatures great and small”, it is obvious they are more worried about money than the real issue which is animal care. We have enough laws now they are not being enforced, a new law re dogs would not do anything, a new one came into force last Friday re breeding of dogs in NSW. I have owned dogs for decades and the real problem IMO is the amount of designers dogs that are being bred to please certain yuppy elements in society “look Mavis I have a labradoodle”. Fines are there to hopefully deter cruelty and wrong doings but what happens when the offenders get to court, they get a slap on the wrist and told not to be a naughty boy/girl again, increasing fines and creating new ones will not fix the problem, get rid of the doctorine of precedent and get some judges/magistrates with bigger goolies and nail people who do the wrong thing”. Bob

  2. Annelies

    Yes here we go again…….another bandaid solution and those that are most vulnerable are being put into the dirt. Why do these animals end up feral anyway???? Its not hard to work out why and who does it. The answer is regulation of puppy mills, mandatory dexsexing, micropping at low cost, pets out of pet shops…..need I go further. Education is another factor, do people know how much care and attention animals need and not just when one feels like giving a pet this. Need I go on……

  3. Jan

    Good on you Bob…I agree.this is not going to stop the reproduction of these animals until we get & I say it again,
    “MANDATORY DE SEXING” in pounds. Councils talk about the expenses of having dogs in pounds, so their solutiion is to do get rid of them by euthanasing them….great! that took a lot a thinking. So the Council & the RSPCA who are the humane part of this little twoseme, decided that if was an ‘EXTRA BURDEN” on the pound & an ‘UNNECESSARY ADDITIONAL COST” to the Council. Well that is showing us that money is the main issue Again money is involved, not humanity. We need to educate these idiots out there that buy a dog or cat & have no way of how to bring them up. So like the Councils….get rid of them! The RSPCA says always to de sex their animals so why did they not speak to council about doing this. And if I were a ratepayer in the Port Macquarie area I would like to see the finanacial report that was kept confidential! In this case I do not think that Port Macquarie Council & the RSPCA are doing anything to STOP this animal euthanasing, they are just winging about the money side. Get it together & try to be humane & help these animals, don’t destroy them. They did not ask to be here, they came from peoples neglect & Councils not facing their responsibilites.

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