The Daily Examiner; Ana Vlastaras | 2nd September 2011
TIFFANY Felton has been a Clarence Valley Council ranger for eight years, and every day she has to play god.
“We don’t have the luxury of shutting our doors and saying sorry, we’re full. It breaks my heart when I have a full pound and the rangers come back with three or four dogs or sometimes 10.
“Then I have to walk through here and make some really tough decisions. It’s not fun, it’s not easy and it’s not made any easier when people tell us how bad we are,” Tiffany said.
“We could not survive without the local animal rescue groups though, who take so many animals off us week in, week out.”
In the past 12 months, 119 dogs and 74 cats were euthanased at the Grafton Pound – the lowest numbers in the past five years.
During the next year, however, Tiffany hopes to see even more animals saved as the Clarence Valley Council increases staff numbers and pound hours, adopts a “pets in prison” program, along with a new volunteer program and introduces compulsory de-sexing of animals from the pound.
The Grafton Pound can house about 14 dogs in its eight kennels and two runs. Funds have been set aside to build an extra four kennels at the Acmena Juvenile Justice facility for the Pets in Prison program – in which centre inmates are trained to care for animals.
However, while the council can implement plans to help combat the problem of stray and unwanted animals, Tiffany said individual pet owners had to take responsibility.
“I have four dogs and four cats,” she said.
“Every one of mine is de-sexed, vaccinated and registered and every one of them has been purchased from here.
“I do the right thing by my pets and if people can’t … then they end up here or, hopefully, with one of the many and brilliant animal rescue groups within the community,” she said.
“I understand circumstances change but we end up with so many (animals) that are not vaccinated, aren’t microchipped and aren’t de-sexed.”