Animal welfare groups must be investigated: lawyer

Lawyers Weekly, September 8, 2011

While animal welfare issues such as the live export of cattle have recently attracted the attention of the government, media and wider community, the poor management and harmful treatment of companion animals is being overlooked.

As the Getting to Zero Summit kicks off this week, which aims to save “surplus” cats and dogs from being killed, Anne Greenaway, principal of Lawyers for Companion Animals, noted the appalling management of companion animals by pounds across Australia.

“In Australia, it’s estimated that there are around 250,000 cats and dogs that get killed every year,” said Greenaway. “One of the issues that keeps rearing its ugly head is shelter staff who get very distressed by what they see in shelters and quite often speak out. And when they do speak out, they get bullied.”

Referring to the high “kill rates” of some animal shelters in Australia, Greenaway noted the increased effort by “no kill” groups to rescue animals from pounds that are likely to be killed.

“Those organisations with a high kill rate refuse to work with rescue organisations. There are people out there who are willing and able to go into such an organisation and be a foster carer, but a lot of these organisations just say no and that is what’s troubling,” she said.

“[Animal management] needs a Four Corners investigation because there are so many questions that haven’t been answered … There are all these animal welfare organisations that are meant to be helping animals but they’re not.”

The conduct of animal rescue organisations, as well as Victoria’s new breed-specific dangerous dogs legislation, are just some of the many animal welfare and management issues dealt with by Greenaway as one of just a few animal lawyers practising in Australia.

“I’ve had an interest in animal issues for more than 10 years … The reason I specifically focus on cats and dogs is that the issues affecting animals are so broad,” said Greenaway, who opened her companion animal law practice in June this year following a career in criminal law.

“I’m doing all this pro bono … I want to be a source of information that will help people make decisions which are in the best interests of their animals.”

Original article here…

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3 Comments

Filed under Bullying in shelters, Getting2Zero

3 responses to “Animal welfare groups must be investigated: lawyer

  1. Tara

    Why are greyhounds exempt from the Companion Animals Act (2008) when 20,000+ are bred & killed every year in Australia?

  2. I could not agree more and fully support an investigation into Animal Management. Discrimination and alienation are very real risks of those speaking out about conditions and treatment of companion animals in some pounds.
    There needs to be a new legislation that is across the board of Australia, not State by State and then via council to council. There are so many companion animals being treated every unethically and there are others that are given absolutely no chance of survival due to the inner politics of the particular pound/pounds at question.
    I believe that one must be able to speak up on issues that need to be out in the open and always attempt to do, with some scrutiny and finding myself comparatively a threat to the underbelly of the crimes against animals.
    The foster carers and rescue organisations are the backbone of the pounds that do allow certain groups to participate with them to find the best possible outcome for abandoned companion animals. The hefty put to sleep lists are a regularly shared link on sites such as facebook and dogsonline forums, etc.
    Social media and sharing links when some have just minutes till the close of business to be spared and saved is now under threat from fb management who are culling slowly and suspending accounts posting and sharing links to animals in high danger of euthanasia.
    As an animal activist, my position is not about sparing those that do harm to the one/ones without a voice. I will continue to advocate for those that have no voice and continue to reveal any evidence I have at hand that a council pound is corrupt in its web of policies and politics that suit it as an entity, individually.
    The unfortunate legislation about dangerous breeds is specifically targeting a breed, distressing to say that is without the statistics to back it up. The statistics for dog attacks as you know are higher, for many other breeds. Individuals are now going into panic and the latest news here is that dogs will be seized and put to sleep if the identifying ranger deems them to be a pitbull breed or x of. How many are not, have already lost their lives because of the error of the impounder?
    Registrations are another area that needs to be uniform across the borders, for to pay a lifetime registration of $40 to adopt a save/dog from another state just for the time it travels on a plane to another state, where then registering the said animal incurs more registration fees for the specific state with no redeemable portion of the first registration and no way to transfer, leaves the councils profit margin through this form of manipulation well schooled for.
    There are atrocites going on at some pounds and as long as people are feared into silence, the continuation of the unthinkable will continue. Yes, Lyn White spoke up and yes, four corners coverage evoked responses from the nation and continues to do so today. How this came to our attention was through the release of information and images that people did not close their eyes to. The courage to bring it out into the open influenced others to speak out and that is why pounds that are doing the unthinkable and are slaughterhouses in their own right, need to be exposed.
    I can name one that simply allows beautiful animals to die because they are to lousy to enforce their own rulings and use funds to desex or vaccinate, which is the requirement to sell an animal for rehoming. I am sure there are many that prefer the revenue over the cost to give back to the community.
    The code of silence must be addressed and the fact the code of silence exists is due to the fact of harrassment and yes, bullying.
    I fully encourage and fully support a full investigation and am happy to assist this cause in any way that I can.
    Yours faithfully
    Jennifer (Gold Coast).

  3. Lucinda

    This investigation is a long time coming and will be welcomed by those people who are concerned about the number of animals euthanised weekly, despite there being organisations prepared to try to rehome a large number of these animals.

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