Cruelty claims rock animal welfare centre

Geelong Independent; Erin Pearson; October 13 2011

GEELONG Animal Welfare Society is under investigation for cruelty after staff leaked a video allegedly depicting mistreatment.

The video posted to the internet on Tuesday showed apparently drugged animals unable to sit or walk.

Staff appear to joke about suggestions of inhumane treatment at the shelter.

Former employee Susan Irwin said some staff were aware of the treatment for years but unable to stop the cruelty.

Ms Irwin said other staff had bullied her at the shelter after she raised the mistreatment with management. 

The shelter also killed animals in front of others in breach of the shelter’s code of practice, she said.

“Management said they’d stopped killing cats in front of others back in April but it was still going when I left at the end of July.

“The list (of mistreatment issues) goes on but no one would listen to our cries for help.

“Most of the staff didn’t even know there was a code.”

More than 400 protestors have accepted a Facebook invitation to protest at City Hall on Saturday.

About 5500 people had viewed the YouTube footage when the Independent when to press on Wednesday.

Paul Archer, of animal welfare group Deathrowpets, said the video was shocking but not surprising.

Mr Archer said he contacted the shelter numerous times in the last year about mistreatment concerns.

Newtown vet Jack Ayerbe said drugging dogs a day before they were put down was uncommon but not inhumane.

Animals were usually sedated immediately before being euthanised only in the case of dangerous dogs for safety reasons, he said.

RSPCA spokesman Tim Pilgrim said the video was “very distressing”.

“The RSPCA has formally requested Department of Primary Industries investigate the matter.”

Geelong Animal Welfare Society acting president David Cecil said the shelter was working with council to ensure protocol was followed.

“Comments on that video are misleading. Staff don’t sedate or give medication to animals unless they’ve been given vet advice,” Mr Cecil said.

“It’s not for convenience.”

Mr Cecil said cats were no longer killed in front of each other.

Department of Primary Industries, which is responsible for shelter licensing, said council was responsible for ensuring the shelter operated within the law.

Council’s spokesperson failed to respond to the Independent’s request for comment before the paper went to press.

Original article here

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