PUBLIC FORUM – 10 DECEMBER 2019. PETER CORMICK
AGENDA ITEM NOM19/009: IMPROVED IMPOUNDMENT FACILITIES
1. Councillor McGinlay’s proposed motion, in which he seeks improvements to the animal pound, is clearly one that deserves unanimous support.
2. Those of us who have, and have had, the pleasure and privilege of sharing life with our four-legged friends will, surely, support this motion - with enthusiasm.
3. Having visited the pound earlier this year, to rescue a new little friend, Rusty, my wife and I can attest to the pound’s harsh, prison-like structure. Animals already in a very distressed state are subjected to the frightening sounds of banging metal gates and placed in sparse, concrete cells, with the very small and vulnerable in cells next to the very large and intimidating detainees. It is a hell for all of them.
4. This description of the pound should in no way be taken as a criticism of the work that the rangers do. Our own experience of them is that they are dedicated to caring for the animals to the extent that the facilities and resources allow them.
5. I ask you to imagine your own pet placed in such an environment and then decide whether the current pound should be allowed to stay as it is.
6. Of course, it’s all about money. But it is also about priorities. I have no doubt that the money can be found, from Council’s very large investment fund, if there is the will to do so.
7. The motion seeks straightforward, positive action from you to agree, at the next budget review, to allocate sufficient funds to conduct a detailed inspection of the pound. This would allow assessment of its suitability as measured against community expectations and current best practice, and action upon those findings, with the improvements set out in part 2 of the motion, including an extended dog exercise area, construction of a separate, enclosed cattery and the construction of a separate office and visitors’ area.
8. The background to the motion provides you with enough information and commentary to be persuaded to support the motion. That information and commentary includes the following:
· “The facility run by Eurobodalla Shire Council, while meeting basic legal requirements, by its existence, is nevertheless old and due for replacement in the near future and is arguably not fit for purpose nor community expectations for the humane treatment or conditions of temporary captivity and accommodation of animals awaiting collection or re-homing.”
· “... we have a duty to them that goes beyond legalities, and is based on what our society considers to be appropriate treatment for companion animals.”
· “It may be that rehoming suitable animals can be further improved through changes such as a revamped impound facility, which better caters for animals' needs, and provides a more welcoming space for visiting members of the public.“
· “It would be much more humane to house the cats in a fully enclosed structure, further away from the dogs. This would greatly assist in identifying cats which are rehomable, by lowering their stress levels.“
· “Many of the dogs in the pound are larger breeds, yet the exercise area in our current facility is tiny.“
· “We also need a place where people can safely interact with animals they are thinking of adopting.“
9. Finally, I ask you to please vote with your own animal companion in mind. And if you do not have one, please try to imagine how these vulnerable, distressed animals suffer in their confinement and how we can and should reduce that suffering to the full extent possible.