Geelong Advertiser; Jane Harper; April 20 2011
GEELONG Animal Welfare Society has defended itself against claims made at a protest yesterday.
A dozen animal rights campaigners gathered outside the GAWS facility in Portarlington Rd, Moolap, holding signs and chanting as staff arrived for work.
Campaigner Tarsha Andrews said protestors were concerned about a number of practices at the centre.
“It seems to be about economics rather than being humanitarian-driven,” Ms Andrews said. “There are a lot of groups willing to help make sure fewer animals are killed, but GAWS won’t let us help.”
GAWS president Dr Ian Walter came out to speak to the group and listen to their concerns.
CATS put down in front of other cats;
CONCERNS that members of the public were told over the phone that no animals were available for adoption;
CLAIMS that animals were euthanised too quickly; and,
CONFUSION over why the facility did not advertise animals for adoption online.
Dr Walter, who has been a vet for 42 years, said the welfare society had been part of the Geelong community since 1956 and staff worked hard to save as many animals as they could.
He said 55 per cent of the dogs who came through the doors were lost and returned to their owners. Of the remainder, 20 per cent were found new homes and 25 per cent were put down.
“The animals we put down are not rehomeable,” Dr Walter said. “We are not like a pet shop, some of these dogs will have attacked people.
“We are doing our best, and it causes staff stress to make the decision to put down an animal.”
Dr Walter said cats were occasionally put down in front of other cats due to space restrictions, but staff were working to minimise distress by using curtains.
He said animals were not advertised on websites to encourage potential owners to come in so staff could assess suitability for ownership.
“The protestors have a right to make comment, but we find it distressing to be accused of things which are unfair and not factual,” Dr Walter said.