APPEAL: It's time to fix CQ's pet over-breeding problem
BEING a responsible pet owner isn't just about feeding your animal and taking it for a walk; it's about getting them de-sexed.
A sad fate awaits some animals produced by unwanted litters or are dumped by theirs owners when they arrive at the Rockhampton Pound.
Some pets are lucky enough to be re-homed or fostered out to temporary owners but others are not to lucky and are unfortunately euthanised to make way for more displaced animals.
On a CQ Facebook group, pet fosterer from the Pawprint Foundation Foster Group, Renee Stiles posed a series of tough questions for the community.
"What can we do to stop over-breeding of cats and dogs in the area? Rocky Pound is always full and has two kill days a week?” Ms Stiles said.
"What can be done to stop this? Why are people not buying rescue pets more? Why are people breeding so much and not desexing?
"We need to all do more this is a big problem in the local community.”
According to the most recent figures supplied by the council for the June Quarter, 597 animals were impounded.
On average, 88 per cent of animals at the Rockhampton Pound are either returned to their owners or rehomed.
Of the remaining 12 per cent that are euthanised with 11 per cent done so at owners request, 13 per cent is on veterinary advice and 76 per cent is on feral or aggressive animals unsuitable for re-homing.
A council spokesperson said numbers change at the pound on a daily basis.
"All impounded animals are held at the pound for a minimum of three days if the owner is not identifiable or five days if the owner is identifiable,” the spokesperson said.
"If council finds an animal with any type of identification and/or registration tag, they will be contacted by a council officer.
"Pets often lose their collar/tag, so it is important to have your pet microchipped too.”
Rockhampton Region Councillor Ellen Smith, Planning and Regulatory Chair said the council couldn't fix these issues on its own.
"If people out there want more animals to be rehomed they need to do their part,” Cr Smith said.
"Council relies on animal welfare agencies and works with them to get animals desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and rehomed.
"This stops more puppies and kittens coming back to the pound later on.”
Cr Smith said the council gives agencies free microchipping and waives registration fees until the next notice is due on top of paying them $100 per dog and $50 per cat for showing us the animal was desexed and rehomed.
"We've also offered heavily subsidised vaccination, desexing and microchipping vouchers at the recent Snip and Chip event,” she said.
"More than 530 vouchers were distributed to pet owners as a result of this initiative.
"Council also runs and supports various campaigns throughout the year to increase awareness in the community of responsible pet ownership through initiatives such as Your Pet, Your Responsibility and the RSPCA's Operation Wanted.”
She said construction of the new pound was almost complete with final fit-out and landscaping the only remaining works to be completed.
Advantages to having your pet desexed
- No risk of unwanted litter
- Reduces desire to roam
- Reduces risk of some cancers
- Reduces other unwanted behaviours such as urine spraying (cats)
- Cheaper Council registration fees
- Allows pets to be healthier and happier
"Council is currently looking at holding a microchipping event to celebrate the opening of the new facility and we'll be releasing more information about that in the near future,” Cr Smith said.
"At the end of the day this pound will not address the wider issue though. Council can't do it on its own and the more people in the community who do the right thing the better the situation will become.”
RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said Operation Wanted was a joint three-month statewide animal desexing campaign, kicking off on June 1, driven by the RSPCA, participating vets and local councils.
He said this year the Operation Wanted campaign sees 185 vets reducing their dog and cat desexing fees by 20 per cent during the campaign and it was estimated that around 10,000 extra animals being desexed as a direct result of the campaign.
"This year we're hoping to top that number,” Mr Beatty said.
"There is a massive pet over-population all over Queensland, and of course, Australia. Over 45,000 animals come into our care every year and the vast majority of the domestic animals have not been desexed. We've got to get the message out there.
"Plus of course the reason we have such a massive feral cat and wild dog population is because people were not and are not desexing their pets. These animals dramatically impact on the environment.
"Anything that responsible pet owners can do to reduce this threat to our native wildlife - both in our national parks and in our own backyards - will help to make a real difference to our environment and this simple desexing procedure is a very good place to start.”