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Strelow claims misleading pound figures on Facebook

AT YESTERDAY'S Rockhampton Regional Council meeting, Mayor Margaret Strelow asked Capricorn Animal Aid to disclose any links it had to the pet rescue Facebook page Pound Reform Alliance Australia or to the Michael McMillan mayoral campaign.

The Mayor's questions follow social media backlash against the council - from both pet rescue organisation websites - about the pound's management of animals and euthanasia rates.

In a powerpoint presentation to the table of councillors and gallery of animal welfare organisation members, Cr Strelow made claims that Pound Reform Alliance Australia published false and misleading information on their Facebook page about the amount of animals that had been euthanised at the Rockhampton pound.

Cr Strelow outlined the difference in animal euthanasia figures when she compared the percentage from council's official report (43%) to the published percentage by Pound Reform Alliance Australia (73%).

Her statement comes after the information was published on the PRAA Facebook page, which also advocates for the McMillan mayoral campaign, on September 3.

"The timing of the posts on social media came within days of Michael McMillan launching his first policy at the Capricorn Animal Aid ball," Cr Strelow said.

"The posts went from the sublime to the ridiculous as our supposed euthanasia rate suffered in a game of Chinese whispers, ending up with readers being told we had a 100% kill rate."

Pound Reform Alliance Australia president Tarsha Andrews told The Morning Bulletin yesterday that the organisation calculated the 73% after compiling figures from the council's Facebook page.

"Those statistics were compiled from council's own page so if they are incorrect then council is providing inaccurate and misleading statistics," she said.

"And if they are incorrect, why doesn't council move to publish the correct figures? Council use non-standard terminology such as 'picked up' instead of impounded, which means there's potential for misinterpretation.

"Michael McMillan is equally disgusted as our organisation by the situation and has stated that animal welfare is a priority for him. We've moved past killing the bulk of the animals that aren't claimed from the pound, it's 2015, rehoming is just a basic function." Cr Strelow also responded to claims made by RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend, published on the Pound Reform Alliance Australia Facebook page, that Rockhampton was one of only a handful of councils left in the state that did not run an adoption program through the pound.

Cr Strelow said the council dealt with many different rescue agencies, indeed less than half of the council's rescued animals were rescued by Capricorn Animal Aid.

"Councils our size don't normally do rehoming from the pound," Cr Strelow said.

"There is no evidence to say that more animals would be rehomed if we did. In fact there is some evidence that community-based rehoming works best.

"Capricorn Animal Aid take less than half of the animals that are rehomed from our pound. We know we need to help them more and I will put a number of resolutions today which will set out greater assistance."

Mr Townend yesterday said he was glad to hear Cr Strelow offer more help to CAA.

"It's great that the council are going to help support the CAA, now we just need the commitment to building the pound in a reasonable timeframe," he said.

"The RSPCA want to see an admission from the council that they can do it better and resource someone that can help run an adoption program. Unfortunately now we're in the silly season in the lead-up to elections where people strongly support certain candidates and then the candidate is instantly seen as being in bed with them which isn't the case.

"The current Mayor ought to be smart and keep the animals off the front page. Collaboration is the number one key to saving these animals lives."

Topics:  capricorn animal aid michael mcmillan rrc



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