Animal shelter’s licence suspended after neglect claims

Brisbane Times, Natalie Boschenki; March 21, 2013

The Ipswich Animal Shelter’s licence has been suspended and animals are being removed from the site following claims of neglect.

The Animal Welfare League says the allegations that animals were being kept in small, unhygienic cages until they could be re-homed was made by a disgruntled ex-volunteer.

“The RSPCA went out there yesterday and couldn’t find anything to back it up,” said communications manager Brooke Whitney.

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty confirmed this, but added there were other complaints.

“There was one specific complaint that we went out to look into yesterday, and there won’t be any further action taken in regard to that,” he said.

“But there have been other complaints that have come through in the past two or three weeks that we’re working through.”

Ipswich City Council’s Health and Community Safety chair Andrew Antoniolli said an investigation was underway into how the Animal Welfare League was fulfilling the terms of its contract.

“Council has suspended the contract based on three separate affidavits from people closely associated with the Animal Welfare League,” he said.

“The contract will remain suspended pending the outcome of that investigation.”

Mr Antoniolli said the council would work with the RSPCA through the process.

“I’m fully aware that the RSPCA did inspect the centre yesterday and gave it the all-clear, which is very pleasing to hear,” he said.

The notice of suspension was issued on Monday, with the AWL given seven days’ notice to suspend operations.

Ms Whitney said they were now removing more than 50 cats and 40 dogs to the AWL’s Gold Coast shelter, with any sick animals to be transferred to Beenleigh to be cared for.

“We’re offering 50 per cent off all adoptions this weekend, with all available animals desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and wormed,” she said.

The AWL usually charges $350 to adopt a puppy, $240 for a dog, $200 for a kitten and $120 for a cat.

“It’s a massive loss for us, but it’s better than the animals losing their lives,” Ms Whitney said.

Mr Antoniolli said it would be “business as usual” at the Ipswich shelter, which is attached to the council pound.

“The council will oversee the rehoming facility and engage another provider as an interim measure,” said Mr Antoniolli.

Original here

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