Nick Galvin, December 23, 2008, Sydney Morning Herald
WITHIN about 100 metres of Monika Biernacki’s property at Ingleside you may as well turn off the GPS, open the car window and follow your ears.
This is a semi-rural part of Sydney with houses spaced wide apart on big blocks – which is a good thing, because the 100 or so dogs whose barking will guide you the last part of the journey to Monika’s Doggie Rescue make one hell of a racket.
It was always noisy, Ms Biernacki said, but as Christmas approached the number of dogs – and the noise – rose markedly.
“At this time of year it is frantic,” Ms Biernacki said.
“People get rid of their dogs before Christmas, not after Christmas. They do it because they are going away and they don’t want to pay boarding fees.”
The animals come from “death row” at various council pounds, and if it was not for Ms Biernacki their only future would be a lethal overdose of sedative.
Between 15 and 20 dogs arrive at the centre each week, a volume that is threatening to overwhelm Ms Biernacki and her volunteers.
“We just can’t cope with the oversupply,” she said.
“It’s just out of control.”
However, all the dogs will ultimately be rehomed, because, unlike most other centres, Ms Biernacki operates a strict no-kill policy.
“The no-kill way is the harder road. It’s much easier to say, ‘Well, the dog has been here for so many months so we’ll get rid of it and try with another one.’ But I think educated people realise there is a better way. You can’t just dispose of an animal because it doesn’t suit you. You don’t get rid of your kids because life gets too hard – so why should you get rid of your pets?”
And on top of her determination never to see a dog euthanased, Ms Biernacki makes her task even harder by focusing on animals that are particularly difficult to rehome.
“We’ll take one-eyed dogs, we’ll take three-legged dogs. We don’t care.”
One celebrated German shepherd cross with severe behavioural problems caused by abuse took six years to rehouse.
Another strict rule is that any new owner who has second thoughts about caring for a dog can return the animal cost-free. However, very few people take advantage of this policy, a result, Ms Biernacki said, of the way potential owners were screened.
After an exhaustive round of form-filling and interviews, intending adopters get to meet several dogs that might suit them.
“We always make sure the whole family – whoever is going to be involved with that dog – comes to meet the dog. They all touch it and feel it on neutral ground. If there is any negative reaction to one family member then we don’t proceed.”
Despite rehousing more than 8000 dogs and puppies over the past 15 years, Ms Biernacki believes her services will remain in high demand until there is a fundamental shift in the public’s attitude to pet ownership.
“We have just got to change that sort of attitude that they are disposable. We are an educated country yet the way we treat our companion animals is barbaric.”
Sydney Morning Herald. To access original article, click here…..