AS THE opening of the new pound gets closer, Griffith City Council describes the new facility as an “unwanted necessity” but hopes the responsible pet owners will see fewer animals entering.
Chairperson of Council’s General Facilities Committee Councillor Doug Curran encouraged pet owners to microchip, de-sex and register their pets to minimise unwanted litters and ensure lost pets are reunited with their family.
The new facility, which cost ratepayers more than $500,000, will have air conditioning and underfloor heating to protect animals from extreme weather.
The floors have also been treated with a sealant to minimise the spread of canine and feline diseases.
"The pound is not something we want to be invest in, council has invested over $500,000 of the community’s money...we would rather invest that money into something more productive and that services the community but at the end of the day we must provide this facility," Cr Curran said.
Cr Curran said the facility provides a regrettably necessary service and wants to see the amount of animals entering the pound significantly reduced by putting the onus back onto pet owners.
"It's not a service council wants to provide but some members of the community let themselves and their pets down and we have to then take on the care of the animals,” he said.
"If we go back a step, we would rather see responsible owners do the right thing by their pets by getting them de-sexed and take care of them so we don't need the facility in it's current capacity."
While the facility is regrettably necessary Cr Curran said an upgrade was needed and animal welfare is a top priority for council.
"The old pound was rundown and needed to be updated...but we would rather see the need for a pound vastly reduced or removed,” he said.
"We have to do our best to find homes and ensure these animals don't suffer and part of that is to provide a facility that is fit for purpose and the old pound had well and truly past its use-by-date.”
Cr Curran praised staff for their extensive efforts to reduce the high numbers of euthanasia and ensure the re-homing of most animals.
Between July 2015 and June 2016 more than 569 cats and 285 dogs entered the pound and some 302 cats and 58 dogs were euthanized, mostly due to illness or being unsuitable for re-homing.
“Staff are putting in the effort to ensure as many of these animals are re-homed, we will always cop criticism because animals have to be euthanized but at the end of the day if animals didn't show up in our care we wouldn't have to do it.”