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10 June, 2022

Funding bid reveals extent of animal issues

A REQUEST for double the funding to help a welfare organisation provide discounts for people who need assistance to pay for the de-sexing and microchipping of their pets has been rejected by Tablelands Regional Council.

By Robyn Holmes

Animal Welfare Society secretary Iris Crawford (left) Sue McCann and patron Betty Harrison with Scotty at the Atherton store in Roberts Street

The need for additional funding has been rejected by council three times previously, and hopes were high that this time the Atherton and Districts Animal Welfare Society would be successful, however, council chose to only offer an additional 20 per cent, equating to an extra $1000 a year for the next three years. 

In a letter to the council, Animal Welfare Society secretary Iris Crawford revealed the organisation had provided a total of $49,700 in financial assistance for 212 dogs to be desexed and microchipped as well as 179 cats during a 12-month period, of which the council contributed $5000. 

The issue brought to light the extent of straying animals in the council area, with officers revealing they expect to have to put down 100 animals this year. 

Community and Corporate Services general manager Hilary Jackson argued strongly for the society’s funding request, telling council that approximately 80 per cent of animals impounded over the past three years were not de-sexed. 

She said with only 38 per cent of impounded animals returned to their owner in the year to date, council - and therefore, the community - was footing the bill of around $40,000 a year to pay for costs associated with impounding or euthanising animals. 

Cr David Clifton argued that he wanted to see a fully developed policy on animal management before any decision was made on additional funding. 

“I am a great believer in people being responsible for their pets. We don’t have a current animal management policy and my approach would be to leave this on the table until we come up with a proper management policy for our animals,” he said. 

“We need to have a really a good look at the issue – we say it’s a complex and large problem, our citizens say it is, and we tackle it with $5000 in a tight budget time. 

Not good enough from my point of view.” Mrs Crawford told The Express “it was better than nothing” and that the store, located at 7 Roberts Street, operated by the society would have to fund the shortfall. 

But they needed people to donate items to be sold – everything from furniture to books and household items – and additional volunteers to enable the shop to extend its opening hours. 

“The demand keeps growing and we also donate to 10 other animal organisations in the region, so we need more donations from the community and more volunteers so we can keep doing this work,” she said. 

Anyone who can help should get in touch with the society by calling 4091 4252.

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