JOANNA Herceg not only opens her doors to ill or abandoned pugs but she also opens her heart. Her organisation, Pug Rescue and Adoption Victoria, has cared for more than 50 pugs this year.
Ms Herceg volunteers her time to nurture them back to care in her Knox home before they are put up for adoption.
However, her organisation faces closure, with state government legislation proposing animal rescue organisations such as Ms Herceg’s have to be registered with the Department of Primary Industries as “domestic animal businesses”.
Ms Herceg fears the rule will force her to shut down. She said her family home would not meet council regulations.
“They will not qualify as the foster dog or cat are being kept in the family home and not in a cage or dog run.” However she said keeping dogs in a family environment prepared them for adoption.
“They can go to the backyard, sit on the couch, learn to hang out with a family, go on a walk or go for drives.
“If we shut down, there’s going to be more dogs and cats in the pound system.” Ms Herceg said her organisation was registered with the Australian Tax Office and Consumer Affairs Victoria as an animal welfare charity.
It is also registered with the Dog Rescue Association of Victoria, which sets a high criteria for its members.
“What we do is of a very high standard, even higher than pounds do. We aren’t a shelter where you just hand over the money and get a dog.” Ms Herceg said the animal community was outraged by the proposed legislation.
“They know the true worth of foster carebased organisations and the companion animal lives it saves. It’s a pity the government and DPI do not.” Winston Tan
Dog worries: Joanna Herceg is concerned aboul the future of stray or unwanted pugs.