IT IS called Rockhampton Animal Pound, but to the thousands of dogs and cats that go through its doors each year, it is the equivalent of a slaughterhouse.
Shock figures revealed today in a report to councillors show that last month more than 300 pets that entered the gates were destroyed.
It's the first time the council has released details of the scale of the slaughter. But if March was a typical month it means that close to 4000 dogs and cats are put down by the authority in a full year – many of them a matter of a few days after being seized from the streets or surrendered by their owners.
An insider said dogs and cats got 72 hours on death row and were reprieved only if they were claimed.
Michael Beatty, a spokesman for RSPCA Queensland, said yesterday that he was saddened by the
figures which he said suggested the council made little or no attempt to re-house unwanted pets, strays and mistreated animals.
He said the RSPCA was aware that Rockhampton had one of the worst problems for strays in the state, but more could be done to encourage desexing and to find foster homes for dogs and cats that found their way into the care of the council.
And Cr Glenda Mather, who called for information on the number of animals destroyed at the pound, described the information as extremely shocking.
“I would like to see what the trend is. I am extremely shocked to think there are so many being killed and we should be told if this has been going on for the past two or three years. I'm sure a number of animals are being put down unnecessarily,” she said.
Cr Mather, who has campaigned tirelessly for improvements to the way the council deals with dangerous and roaming dogs, said she would renew her efforts now she knew more.
“People should be aware that if they give up their dog to the council, it is effectively signing its death warrant.
“The council's current policies are causing tremendous grief for families. How many people have surrendered their dogs or cats believing efforts would be made to re-house them?
“These figures show the appalling truth of the matter.”
Rockhampton does not have an RSPCA shelter, but the organisation runs a foster program and makes every effort to re-house the dogs and cats it receives.
The organisation has about 40 dogs in foster care in the city and Capricorn Animal Aid removes dogs from the pound once a week to give them a second chance.
436 animals were impounded in March
Of these 189 cats and 121 dogs were euthanised
In March 52 dog attacks were reported in the Rockhampton region