- Barclay Crawford; :The Sunday Telegraph ; August 14, 2011
PET breeders could face tougher controls after the State Government revealed 158,000 dogs and cats have been put down in the past five years.
The alarming figures, from a government analysis of council pounds, show more than 15,000 canines and 17,000 felines are euthanased each year. This represents one-third of all dogs and 70 per cent of all cats abandoned to pounds across the state.
Minister for Local Government, Don Page, and Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, have formed the Companions Animals Taskforce, which will attempt to identify why so many animals are ending up in pounds.
Mr Page described the statistics as “shocking” and said the taskforce would explore ways to cut euthanasia rates for surrendered or aband- oned animals.
These include investigating puppy farms and how pets are sold, as well as why so many animals continue to not be desexed or microchipped.
“Many organisations work tirelessly to rescue dogs, housing them for weeks or months until they can find homes for them,” Mr Page said.
“But we should not rely on the efforts of big-hearted individuals and groups.”
The Taskforce, which will meet for the first time tomorrow, will be chaired by Charlestown MP and veterinarian, Andrew Cornwell. Pet owners in Australia have bucked an international trend and prefer dogs to cats for company. There are 3.4 million dogs in Australia, compared to 2.3 million cats.
But the growing number of animals is also leading to an increase in the number dumped or abandoned in the nation’s pounds. Dog lover Suzie Baldwin welcomed the government’s concern over the number of animals that are being euthanased.
Ms Baldwin has been involved in rescuing staffordshire terriers through the animal welfare group, Staffy Rescue, for five years.
She first became interested in rescuing animals from the pound due to the number of pups she saw in pet shops.