SAD CASE: Northern Rivers councils received almost 1000 surrendered, abandoned or stray cats and dogs last financial year, a large percentage of which were unable to be re-homed.
SAD CASE: Northern Rivers councils received almost 1000 surrendered, abandoned or stray cats and dogs last financial year, a large percentage of which were unable to be re-homed. Robyne Cuerel

Pounds in firing line

ALMOST 200 cats and dogs were euthanized in council-run pounds across the Northern Rivers last financial year.

The number of cats and dogs being euthanized is close to a fifth of the total number impounded al-though the percentage being put down varies greatly across the councils.

It's a trend Northern Rivers Animal Right and Rescue Group (ARRG) founder and co-ordinator Barbara Steffensen said must change.

"If it wasn't for rescue groups the kill rate would be huge," she said.

Ms Steffensen said if council-run pounds were open to the public other than via appointment, it would take the pressure off volunteer animal rescue groups to re-home the cats and dogs.

"We're taking animals from the public as well, and ones that are dumped that never get to the pound, and then we've got the pound animals that have no way out other than to go to a rescue group," she said.

Ms Steffensen said a uniform code of practice that included set opening hours for council-run pounds across the state would help lower the number of animals being euthanized.

She said the Grafton Animal Shelter was a good example of a council-run pound. The facility is open to the public for adoption and re-homing enquiries from 8.30am to 10.30am on weekdays and other times via appointment. All animals are desexed, vaccinated, micro chipped and lifetime registered.

An RSPCA spokesperson said the most common reason animals are impounded is the lack of a microchip or out-of-date data, making it difficult for the owner to be contacted.

"Desexing is also really important in terms of keeping unwanted litters of animals down," the spokesperson said.

"The RSPCA takes in 160,000 animals every year and many of these unwanted animals are the result of unplanned breeding."

The spokesperson said the earlier cats and dogs can be desexed, the less likely unwanted pregnancies will occur.

GRIM FIGURES

Lismore City Council

Total number impounded: 285

Total number euthanized: 86

Ballina Council

Total number impounded: 298

Total number euthanized: 58

Richmond Valley Council

Total number impounded: 126

Total number euthanized: 22

Kyogle Council

Total number impounded: 16

Total number euthanized: 10

Byron Shire Council

Total number impounded: 208

Total number euthanized: 14



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