Animal welfare is a matter dear to my heart and I am proud to be a part of an organisation that recognises the benefit of companion animals. This month the City is updating its Companion Animal Policy. The updated policy will come to Council this coming Monday 23rd June. This proposed policy is not unlike the previous policy, however, I have concerns that it doesn’t place any emphasis on the importance of companion animals in community wellbeing. At Monday’s meeting I will be seeking a few minor changes to the policy to bring it in line with our animal friendly values.
It is important that the City works with a range of animal welfare organisations. The City has a no-kill policy when dealing with abandoned animals. The existing partnership with the Sutherland Shire Animal Shelter ensures that abandoned animals are cared for and re-homed. This works well in cases where rangers have trapped an abandoned animal. However, in cases where a member of public has trapped an abandoned animal or has an animal it can no longer care for the City is unable to accept them.
The proposed policy recommends that in these circumstances the RSPCA should be contacted. Recent national figures suggest that almost 30% of dogs and over 50% of cats in the care of the RSPCA are euthanised. This figure is alarming and casts a shadow over the City’s official no-kill policy. There are a number of excellent organisations based in Sydney that operate on a no-kill basis. They work incredibly hard to re-home huge numbers of animals with people who are equipped and prepared to take care of an animal. I will be recommending that the City’s Companion Animal Officer keep a register of these organisations that they can refer people to.
I firmly believe that we should not be punishing animals for the mistakes of human beings. I will continue to work closely with animal welfare organisations and volunteers in the LGA and others to make Sydney a city of best practice when it comes to the respect and care of animals.