Council to take over animal shelter

Date published: 25 April 2018

Townsville City Council yesterday voted to take over the management of the animal shelter in Shaw.

The decision – made at yesterday’s Full Council meeting – comes after Townsville City Council and the RSPCA reached an agreement allowing the RSPCA to leave their contract early.

The agreement allows both organisations to focus on their core responsibilities, Townsville City Council focussing on animal management and the RSPCA on animal welfare and most importantly, fund those responsibilities.

Townsville City Council and 71 other councils in Queensland – out of 77 across the state – manage their own pound services.

Council staff members have been operating the shelter since the RSPCA’s decision to move away from pound services and have ensured a smooth transition.a

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the new arrangements would benefit both the animals and the community long-term.

“This deal will ensure the highest level of animal welfare and provide the best value for ratepayers,” Cr Hill said.

“Council staff will ensure animals are looked after to the highest standard while in our care at the shelter.

“Our staff are experienced and have been doing a great job looking after the animals so far.”

The transition has been successful with staff reuniting 26 dogs with their owners and finding foster homes for 22 cats.

Future animal management policy decisions will look to involve community collaboration with the possible forming of a Companion Animal Management Reference Group.

Cr Hill said pet owners needed to be responsible and ensure their animal was registered, desexed and microchipped.

“I hope we get to the point where an animal shelter is no longer needed but we need the community to ensure they look after their pets responsibly,” Cr Hill said.

“Council already holds regular free microchipping days, has implemented reduced reclaim fees and is exploring options for subsidised desexing.”

The RSPCA will remain in Townsville to investigate animal welfare cases with Council providing free office space in the Shaw facility.