Pound for pound, they’re worth it

SMH Aug 26 2012

Animal shelters across the state are full to bursting with pets desperate for new homes, writes Jason Mountney.

The numbers are sobering. Every day, more than 150 dogs and cats are killed in NSW pounds and animal shelters. A 39-year-old campaigner from Curl Curl, Melanie Norman, remembers the day she first heard the numbers.

“I thought, ‘Holy cow,’ ” she says. “Somebody needs to see what I see now. If someone who considers themselves relatively informed on animal issues doesn’t realise the scale of this problem, how could the average person?”

Norman has established Pound Rounds, a Facebook group that publicises kill lists – complete with heart-string-pulling pictures and videos of dogs on “death row” at the Blacktown and Hawkesbury pounds.

The expected date and time the lethal injection will be administered is included in the post – a sobering “call to action”. The group is funded by dollar-a-day donations sent by supporters via PayPal.

But it works.

“In 2008, Blacktown was the largest killer of pets in NSW,” Norman says. “Now the figures are closer to 10 to 12 per cent of dogs taken in.”

Norman says the lower figure is considered “a genuine ‘no-kill’ rate”, as there are dogs that are simply too sick or socially maladjusted to rehouse.

“As long as the dog is considered ‘rehouseable’ by the pound, it gets a home,” she says. “Only a handful of dogs go on to die.”

While there is a high number of Staffordshire terriers on the Facebook site, Norman says this is not to do with the breed’s energy levels or aggressive reputation.

She says there are many Staffies on the site simply because it is a popular breed. “Other breeds are sometimes more likely to be rescued, so they don’t have to go up on the site.”

Formed last April, Pound Rounds is one of a variety of dog-rescue organisations keeping pets off “death row”.

Based in the northern suburbs, Monika’s Doggie Rescue was formed in 2001 and has saved about 10,000 dogs from being euthanased.

The Animal Welfare League, which hires three inspectors to find animals living in poor conditions, is running the Getting 2 Zero campaign, which aims to cut kill rates to zero.

Among its recommendations are low-cost community vet facilities to reduce the financial pressure on owners who may otherwise give pets away.

The independent member for Sydney, Clover Moore, has unsuccessfully tried to convince both sides of politics to prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops, claiming “impulse buying” of large mammals is a leading contributor to pound populations. She has also advocated improved monitoring of breeders to eliminate the “puppy mill” industry.

The RSPCA this year produced a strategy report for the eight state and territory governments, advocating tighter control of breeders, as well as greater powers for courts to curtail intensive puppy breeding.

Norman says the campaign to keep abandoned animals alive is rewarding. “Once you understand the better nature of 99 per cent of dogs, it is beyond comprehension that they must die.”

Original here…



Filed under Abandoned animals, AWL NSW, Council Pounds, Getting2Zero, NSW

9 responses to “Pound for pound, they’re worth it

  1. In relation to the statements:

    “In 2008, Blacktown was the largest killer of pets in NSW,” Norman says. “Now the figures are closer to 10 to 12 per cent of dogs taken in.”

    Norman says the lower figure is considered “a genuine ‘no-kill’ rate”, as there are dogs that are simply too sick or socially maladjusted to rehouse.

    “As long as the dog is considered ‘rehouseable’ by the pound, it gets a home,” she says. “Only a handful of dogs go on to die.”

    For once an animal welfare group has made a common sence statement inrelation to euthanisia rates in pounds.

    As a regional ranger in WA, I have had many an arguement with so called animal campainers on this matter.Not all dogs can be “saved” or rehomed.

    I have witnessed dogs go insane in the heat in the Pilbara, as well as taking dogs from indiginious communities and trying to rehome them in urbanised locations. They simiply do not cope.

    There are very few Rangers that cope with the desision to put an animal down either by vet or by firearm. Many have left the job in regional areas because of it.

    The reasoning for the high amount of staffies impounded, I found, that the dog attracts a certian type of person. The majority of siezed dogs I have personally dealt with were from persons with drug related issues and “Cashed Up Bogans”. These dogs were mostly untrained, were not socialised, and heat affected.

    So called “Puppy Farms” and pet shops are not entirely to blame. Animal Welfare Groups, breeders, breeders associations, and associated industry groups need to be regulated and licenced in Australia. A concept that is widely opposed by all concerned.

    Local government also needs to be consistant across the council districts with the application and interpretation of state and local laws in relation to animals. The enforcement of said legislation is often at the mercy of the city/town/shire CEO. Information and practices are not often shared between councils. Neighbouring districts often have varing degrees of enforcement and education.

    Animal welfare groups also need to have a co-ordinated effort in place. The in fighting I have experianced with certian groups in WA (and im sure this practice is not restricted to my home state) is deplorable and is not in the best interest of animal welfare. This is why licencing and regulation needs to be impliamentated and enforced. Often when underfunded and under trained “splinter” groups that have been formed from the more established groups, fail it is local government pounds that end up with the animals they could not cope with ended up in disaisterous results.

    Regulation and licencing will also reduce and detect persons who are not fit and proper or of good character having being in control and care of animals in our community. An example of this is a person who has a criminal and sexual harrassment history in Perth WA being around animals when this person can hold a WWC card but can be around animals . Frightening thought isnt it?

    Once these measures are established and put in place, the issue will be resolved to a certian degree.

    • companionanimalnews

      I think this post serves to make a point about the meaning of the term “no Kill”, which has caused a lot of confusion. The “No Kill”movement has never said “No Kill”means no kill of any animal at any expense. It has ALWAYS said “No Kill……… of healthy and rehomable animals”. Experience from the US shows that a figure of about 90% of dogs rehomed is on the mark for a “No Kill” Status. It also applies ONLY to open admission shelters and pounds. Those shelters and rescue groups that are selective about the animals they take in are playing a naughty card when they say they are “No Kill”. My last statement does not intend to mean that they are not doing a terrific job.

      • Geoff Birkbeck


        I agree that welfare (“rescue” is not the apporopate word to use) oganisations play “the naughty card” as you put it. One group based in Perth would not take a staffy cross bitch from me when I was in the Pilbara saying that they were unpopular and no place in any organisation. I begged and begged them to take her She was eventually euthanised by firearm. Another time the same group members did not return my crates (I had 7 out at the time) and once again I begged and screamed for the return of my crates. The result was the same as the previous dog, however, a photo was posted of the result on thier forum explaining what happens to a dog when my crates are not returned. the photo was removed in 10 mins and 4 crates came back that week.

        Another member of the same group set up in the Gasgoyne region of WA plays the card game well. She will only take dogs that are “re-saleable”. There is ancedotal evidence that often dogs are sold on from her as an individual, not being representative of the organisation she represents.

        Recently a shar pei that needed urgent eye surgery was refused by a an Perth based organisation due to him being dog agressive when bonded with the ranger. He was loving and attentive when he was removed from the household that neglected him, The organisation would have paid for his transport and surgery, but claimed because of his treatable behavioural issues and not having a carer wouldnt take him. Then the “excuse” was put back onto “backyard breeders”.

        These three examples were of dogs that would have been suitible for rehoming and every effort was made by the rangers to save them

        A suggestion might be to write and explaination of what ACTUALLY is a “No – Kill” shelter is in nice big crayon lettering, so the lowest common element can understand it

        However, my gravest concern is dogs being handed over to “welfare organisations” that have little or no network, support, funding, training or members. anyone can think upo a cutesy name and set up a welfare service. I have seen splinter groups form from mainstream groups and later fail. Once again, the dogs get returned to the pound system and local government has to bear the cost, as well as the devistating effect on the poor animals

        There is a valid call for the regulation and licencing of all groups and persons involved in animal welfare, actual “rescue”, sheltering and anxicillary services. But it is heavily opposed by those in the industry

      • Correct and the paradigm in which my comments were made.

    • “The reasoning for the high amount of staffies impounded, I found, that the dog attracts a certian type of person”
      Sadly the most populous and in supply of anything is the same – because it’s cheaper 😦 Yet sadly the result is ascribed to the ‘genes’ – the inherent behaviour of the breed – this false stereotype based on precisely zero objective science is repeated by so called behaviourists, trainers and breeders. It’s why animal welfare should be seperated from pseduo breeding folklore and breeders – returned to the realm of fact and welfare.

  2. amanda van de beek

    I would love to pin your article up at shops etc to educate people. I wish more could be done. There must be a huge petition out there somewhere to stop puppy farms.

  3. Jan Baker

    Geoff you are right in all that you have said….It is the people who have to be educated to look after these animals then maybe they won’t end up in pounds…..we need a strong law to be enforced for breeders & rescues…..as when I ask people would they like to donate to a rescue for the animals…the reply is always are they a registered & reputable rescue….the law has to come down on these puppy farmers & also registered breeders as some of them are not so reputable….

  4. Geoff Birkbeck

    As we have persons in our community that should not be allowed to have the privilage to continue to be amongst us, (Ivan Milat and Martyn Bryant
    ) we have animals who arew unsafe as well.

    The term “No Kill” is not definded approporatly. Its clearly a “toiuchy feely” term.

    Dogs inpounded are not all suitable for rehoming for various reasons and can not be allowed back into the community. End of Story.

    To make the cry of injustice in order to save lives isnt the answer within the animal welfare industry.

    However, to regulate and impose legislation is.

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