Pet death toll shames Victorians

 The Age; June 16, 2011 Opinion

ONE in two dogs and only one in 20 cats that end up in the pound survive. The grim death toll would be even worse, as The Age reports today, were it not for more than 50 rescue groups whose volunteers do all they can to find homes for these animals.

Under state regulations, which are under review, strays have eight days’ grace – giving owners a chance to reclaim them – before they may be put down. For surrendered pets, death can come even sooner. So high is the kill rate, thought to be 250,000 cats and dogs nationally a year, that animal welfare advocates want a rethink of the code of practice for shelters and pounds. Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh is to release the new code later this year, but public submissions appear to have persuaded the government to abolish the requirement that animals that are not rehoused within 28 days be put down. It is disappointing, though, that the proposed code does not focus more on finding homes for animals. Pounds are not even required to open on weekends, the best time for most people to look for a dog or cat. Animal rescuers recognise, however, that the sheer number of animals means not all can be rehoused. The people at the ”end of the chain” face a losing battle until public attitudes change. Many shelters are trying to reduce kill rates. Until the end of August, the RSPCA is offering fee-free adoption of pets older than seven years, which tend to be overlooked despite generally being less demanding than younger animals. All animals will be microchipped, desexed and vaccinated. These are measures that all pet owners should undertake to reduce the numbers on death row. Some owners are forced by circumstances to give up pets, but changing attitudes and regulations could save many more animals. The RSPCA endorses calls to ban puppy factories. Churning out puppies for profit – usually sold through pet shops and online – adds to the oversupply that leads to mass euthanasia. The demand for cute puppies and kittens fuels the problem; the public seems oblivious to the huge number of healthy and loving animals that will die if they do not find homes. Shelters lack the resources to house dogs and cats for months on end. If Victorians care about animals, they should demand action on the sources of the problem. The code should focus more on the need to stop treating pets as disposable, control breeding and make euthanasia the last resort. This is an animal welfare scandal in our backyard. It’s time we changed our attitudes to keeping pets and to the value we put on their lives.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Pet death toll shames Victorians

  1. VCAT has just given the go-ahead for a new puppy farm in Ballan, despite 1300 objections and the council voting against the idea. What are the Vic gov thinking? Premier Ted Ballieu and the Planning Minister need to re-state where they stand on the whole puppy farming issue. Do their previous statements opposing puppy farming mean nothing? There is a massive pet overpopulation problem as we all know. This attitude isn’t helping.

  2. Jan Baker.

    Yes people don’t seem to understand just where these little puppies in the window come from….if they could see the conditions that these mothers live in to have their puppies they would be shocked….that is what we need to shock the public let them know just what is going on behind closed doors….too many dogs & cats are flooding our community…..councils need to step up & take responsibility for the irresponsible owners who discard their pets like they discard rubbish…..the more the government allows these puppy farmers to run these businesses making money out of the suffering of these dogs the more dogs & cats will be euthanased in pounds & shelters….rescues can just do so much…..the RSPCA says that they don’t get any help from the government, well they do get help….but rescues DON’T….they often take out of their own pockets money to keep a dog from being euthanased in the pound to put in a boarding kennel to keep it safe until a home can be found…..the laws have to change to protect these dogs & cats from being exploited by these money making people who have no concerns for the welfare of these animals….

  3. Vonnie

    The animals left in kennels of horror often lose their hearing, their sight , their teeth and their minds. These Dog farms are not regulated regardless of what the government or councils say. I have personally seen rats under kennels in filthy runs.Cheap dry food thrown carelessly on mouldy leftovers amongst rubbish and animal waste and no water on a 36 degree day.The rescue groups try to compassionately pick up the pieces in a losing battle. Abandoned and sick animals are often left to die in pounds while rescue groups (only when they are permitted by the managers of a couple of pounds) try to nurse these poor animals back to health and give them some quality of life.It is unforgivable that these heartless puppy farmers are allowed to set up business and inflict such abject cruelty on these sentient beings…The law must change and we must demand that change .. louder and louder to our government and make sure they are listening. It was interesting I saw Ted Balieau capitalising on the publicity of the Sept Puppy Farm Rally by being interviewed for TV … saying how bad the Labour govt was just before the election .. Where are you now Ted ????What have you done ??? Nothing , except allow more farms .. Shame on you Ted.

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