Minimal euthanasia and maximum re-homing: business as usual at the Wingecarribee Animal Shelter

18 November, 2013Posted in: Community

Wingecarribee Shire Council has clarified its position regarding the Wingecarribee Animal Shelter following concerns being raised by members of the community about the future operations of the facility and ongoing welfare of animals.

In August of this year, The Lost Dogs Home announced their decision not to renew their contract with Wingecarribee Shire Council for management of the Wingecarribee Animal Shelter. This contract is set to expire on 29 November 2013.

Chairperson of Council’s Companion Animals Working Group (CAWG), Councillor Larry Whipper said the decision of The Lost Dogs Home to end their relationship with the region did not reflect negatively on volunteers, Council or shelter employees.

“The Lost Dogs Home have done a fantastic job managing our Animal Shelter over the past few years and have achieved admirable euthanasia and rehoming rates, but we respect their decision to withdraw due to difficulties in managing the shelter from a distance,” he said.

“It is disappointing to hear rumours about the shelter circulating within the community, claiming that Council will not look after animal welfare adequately after The Lost Dogs Home wind up their operations. These opinions are simply not true, and Council’s position on the animal shelter has always been clear.”

Council is required by law to operate an animal shelter, and will manage the facility in the immediate future, with a view to preparing a report to be considered by Council about ongoing management of the shelter. A draft transition plan was outlined by staff at the last CAWG.

In the interim period, the shelter will be managed in line with Council’s Draft Minimal Euthanasia Policy, and in accordance with the Division of Local Government’s better practice guidelines and the Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Code of Practice: Dogs and Cats in Pounds and Animal Shelters.

Council acknowledges the difficult position that The Lost Dogs Home staff are currently in and the position of the Companion Animals Working Group to utilise current shelter staff to ensure the most efficient and effective transition in the best interests of the animals. However, Council would like to clarify that shelter staff are currently employed by The Lost Dogs Home, not Council, and future staff employment will be subject to the provisions of the Local Government Act and will be considered an operational decision.

“The dedication of the volunteers at Wingecarribee Animal Shelter is clear, and I would thank them for their ongoing support. I am sure they will continue to play a vital role in the day-to-day operations regardless of who is managing the facility,” Cr Whipper said.