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Bega Valley Shire pound comes under scrutiny

May 30, 2023 9:06 am in by

The subpar conditions of animal pounds across regional NSW have been revealed, with some using metal cages, little protection from the cold and others built on dump sites as campaigners call for “urgent reform”.

One of those to come under scrutiny is the Bega Valley Shire pound which reportedly has metal cages open to the elements and is located adjacent to the Kalaru Tip.

“The pound is a horrible facility for dogs in particular,” a source told the Daily Telegraph.

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“It is a typical ‘old style’ pound, in the back corner of a local dump centre,” the source said.

“The kennels have been built opening to the southwest, so in winter they are bitterly cold but in summer incredibly hot.

“There are no solid walls between each pen so I’m fearful dogs have nowhere to hide.”

Council’s Director of Community, Environment and Planning, Emily Harrison, admitted to East Coast Radio that the Bega Valley Companion Animal Facility was getting on in age but said the shelter provided is adequate.

“The Bega Valley Companion Animal facility is an ageing facility but provides suitable shelter for the cats and dogs we care for and the animals are well cared for,” Ms Harrison said.

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“We work closely with the Animal Welfare League to ensure animals are re-homed as quickly and safely as possible,” she explained.

“We have a number of staff who look after the animals and maintain and clean the facility. However, the facility is getting older and needs to be expanded in line with recent state government changes to the Companion Animals Act that require animals to be housed for longer.

That means Bega Valley Shire Council will need additional space at the facility in the future, which will see increased costs for things such as food and medical care for the animals, staffing and building upgrades to bring the facility up to date with other modern facilities.

“Unfortunately at the moment we don’t have any funding available for that,” Ms Harrison said.

In relation to the pound’s proximity to the Kalaru tip, Ms Harrison said they share a driveway.

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“Council’s Companion Animal Facility is adjacent to the Waste Transfer Station, it is a separate facility but it does share an entrance with the waste station.”

Animal Services Australasia CEO Mark Slater told the Daily Telegraph “there’s a lot of issues across the state, you’ve got pounds built into waste facilities, many with little investment”.

These issues also exacerbated disease spread.

“Diseases like canine parvovirus, ringworm – these can create health and quarantine issues, which in turn create higher costs,” he said.

Mr Slater revealed his organisation contributed to the impound review carried out by the NSW Local Government Office in 2022, which suggested how to improve the state’s facilities.

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“Places are already full, so there needs also to be a look at more funding,” he said.

“There’s so many issues that need to be dealt with – that review needs to be enacted and taken seriously.”

Images: Bega Valley Shire Council

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