A VITAL animal rescue service has refused to re-home any more pets from the Griffith Pound until council drastically improves conditions at the facility.
Unsealed concrete, bare dirt and a "chute" that people dump their dogs down have allowed the potentially fatal parvo virus to run rampant through the pound, and Ken Rebetzke from Needy Paws has had enough.
In the 18 months it has been operating, Needy Paws has rescued at least 500 dogs and cats from the Griffith Pound and re-homed them across Australia.
Without the vital service, Mr Rebetzke said it is likely every animal dumped at the pound – that is not claimed – will be put down.
The cost of treating a parvo-infected dog, plus the service’s standard vaccination and desexing costs, is simply too much for Needy Paws to bear, with each infected dog carrying the burden of a $1000-plus vet bill.
Mr Rebetzke has also struggled to place the infected animals with his carers, who cannot take a risk with the highly contagious disease.
“The main problem for us is the unwanted dog chute – as soon as one infected dog goes down there, they all get it,” Mr Rebetzke said.
“And the fact that the concrete is unsealed – they can disinfect all they like but the disease stays in there.”
Griffith City Council will undertake a review of the pound facilities after Councillor Alison Balind moved a motion at last week’s meeting, which was passed.
The review will investigate operations including animal intake, re-homing and accommodation, as well as the possibility of subsiding de-sexing costs for locals and alternatives for operating the facility.
Cr Balind said the motion was a response to community concerns about conditions at the pound.
“The pound is not the greatest place in the world but at the same time, I understand council has a lot of competing priorities,” Cr Balind said.
“The people in the community who just dump their dogs there are the real issue.
“People need to take more responsibility for their animals because the reality is, if Needy Paws aren’t going to rehome them, they’re going to be euthanised.”
Mr Rebetzke said he will only consider resuming services to the Griffith Pound if the basic conditions – the chute, the concrete and the bare dirt - are addressed.
Manager of executive services at council, Shireen Donaldson, said if councillors determined the pound was in urgent need of an upgrade, money could be allocated from another project otherwise it would have to wait until next year’s budget.
In the mean time, people who are looking to adopt a dog from the pound will still be able to do so.