Rocky Facebook group saving pets from 'death row'
AN online animal rescue group is giving Rockhampton's unwanted pets a second chance.
Rockhampton Poundies on Deathrow is a privately run group that rescues pets from the Rockhampton pound, most of who are awaiting euthanisation.
Brooke Lacey started the Facebook page Rockhampton Poundies on Deathrow after discovering how many animals were euthanised every week.
It became the group's mission to not just rescue these animals, but also find foster homes and forever families.
"We only have a handful of carers that provide temporary care for those saved until transport arrives,” Ms Lacey said.
One Friday, the rescue group had 28 kittens and three cats come into their care.
"It becomes quite overwhelming but we manage to squeeze them in as we can't stand to have them left in the pound any longer than they already have been,” Ms Lacey said.
"Not many people realise just the amount of animals that are placed on death row each week and the amount that the southern rescues save.
"Everyone I speak to when I do house inspections for new foster carers or adoptions is shocked to find out there is a kill list twice a week and that we must find a rescue for them otherwise they die.”
Unfortunately, many of the euthanisations are carried through, as rescues can only take on so much and are overflowing with rescued animals.
However, the weight of another lost life is too much for many of these rescuers to bear, and they often take on even more than they can care for.
"Last Friday there were six cats and two dogs due who were saved by a rescue with no room because they couldn't bare the though of these innocent animals losing their lives,” Ms Lacey said.
"All we want is to create awareness and hopefully along the way get some adoptions.
"We have lots of cats and kittens and some dogs in local foster care looking for their forever homes.
"Without adoptions, rescues can't continue to save.”
If registered animals are not claimed within five days (or three days if they aren't registered), the pound will approach rescue groups to inform them on what animals are available for rehoming.
Chair of Council's Planning and Regulatory Committee Cr Ellen Smith said the council shared the concern of locals who were worried for "lost and unwanted animals”.
Cr Smith said every year, the pound received more than 2000 requests from the public to collect animals and another 300 were surrendered by their owners each year.
"It is very sad that so many animals in our region, through no fault of their own, are left without a place to go,” she said.
"Council invests a significant amount of time and energy into tackling the root cause of this - a lack of care and responsibility from pet owners, who are often behaving outside the law.”
Cr Smith said the council operates a 'Your Pet, Your Responsibility' campaign which urges owners to register and microchip their pets, and provides advice on how to provide proper care.
The main cause of the growth in unwanted animals in Rockhampton is owners' failure to desex their pets.
The council offers a $50 discount voucher to pensioners and concession card holders to encourage locals to have their pets fixed.
"The reality is we do not have the facilities to keep all animals for an indefinite period and that some animals do unfortunately need to be euthanised, often due to aggressive behaviour or disease,” Cr Smith said.
"However the vast majority of animals that spend time in the pound are reunited or rehomed. Council works closely with a number of animal rescue groups across the region, offering cash bonuses as well as free micro chipping and a year's free registration.
"We strongly urge pet owners in our region to look after their animals responsibly by - amongst other things - providing regular exercise and entertainment, vaccinating them against diseases, desexing to prevent unwanted breeding, arranging care for them if you are away, and micro chipping them so they can be easily reunited with you if they do become lost.
"If all pet owners followed these measures, there would be very few animals in our region seeking new homes.”
Council did not disclose how many are destroyed each year.