Brisbane Times; Tony Moore; October 22, 201
Denise Bradley with Ripley who was surrendered at birth to the Community Vet Clinic at Coombabah. Photo: Supplied
Having already saved thousands of animals from being euthanased on the Gold Coast and at Ipswich, the Animal Welfare League now has its sights set on Brisbane’s pounds.
Denise Bradley, the body’s state president, said they had now reached a “zero euthanasing” level for healthy animals at the two regional centres.
The Animal Welfare League has worked with Gold Coast City Council for more than 50 years and has helped Ipswich City Council reduce its euthanasing rates by 50 per cent.
On the Gold Coast, the AWL re-houses 5000 of the 10,000 animals it receives from the public and council pounds each year.
It runs a facility at Coombabah near Helensvale and charges between $250 and $350 for a wormed, de-sexed dog – below AWL estimates of $450 to $500 cost per dog to re-house.
The AWL also returns most other animals back to the Gold Coast City Council after treatment for the council to rehouse.
While the AWL claims to have recently reached a ‘zero’ euthanasia rate for healthy dogs and cats, overall 9 per cent of dogs and 24 per cent of cats are still euthanased.
That is still lower than Brisbane City Council, where at their Willawong and Bracken Ridge pounds 16 per cent of dogs and 68 per cent of cats are put down.
Ms Bradley today confirmed the AWL would bid for Brisbane’s two animal pounds.
“We have been talking to Brisbane’s council for a number of years now about the benefits of working with a welfare group that can work with them with the rehoming of pets that are not claimed by their owners,” Ms Bradley said.
“So we are really keen to be involved when the tender comes out, but of course we will have to see what the terms are and what they are asking for.”
Expressions of interest will be called on Monday.
It costs Brisbane City Council $2.1 million to operate both pounds and estimates show its could save between $500,000 and $1 million if the pounds were outsourced.
Community Services chair Cr Geraldine Knapp said Brisbane City Council was taking in 4200 animals each year at the two pounds.
“The sad reality is many of them have to be put to sleep because we can’t find them new homes,” Cr Knapp said.
“Results show that councils who work with animal welfare experts to run their shelters have significantly reduced their euthanasia rates – something we’re very keen to address.”
Cr Knapp said council had not yet made a final decision.
“I want to stress that this is not a done deal, however it makes sense if we can rehome more animals at a lower cost to council.”
Opposition Leader Shayne Sutton warned outsourcing could cut a key council service. “Our animal shelters provide an important community service and I am concerned that outsourcing them would turn our shelters into a revenue-raising scheme with overzealous captures and exorbitant catch-and-release fees,” she said.
Cr Knapp said “animal welfare” would be highlighted over profit motive in the decision-making process and Jim Soorley looked at a similar scheme with the RSPCA in 1995.
Brisbane City Council is prepared to let its pound facilities be leased at favourable rates to increase the benefit to the animals, a council spokesman suggested.