Motion asks about use of animal rescue groups

A motion by Cr. James Ryan to tonight’s Cessnock City Council meeting will ask council to make inquiries to RSPCA NSW about the use of animal rescue groups to re-home animals in the Cessnock local government area.

Cr. Ryan will ask that council write RSPCA NSW to ask whether its Rutherford based impounding facility released impounded companion animals originating from the Cessnock LGA to Clause 16D certified rescue groups and what the current ‘kill rate’ is of companion animals originating from the Cessnock LGA under the current contract between Cessnock City Council and the RSPCA NSW.

Cr. Ryan will also request that council receive a report before June 30 regarding the answer provided by the RSPCA NSW to the above questions and how council is meeting its obligations under s.64 of the Companion Animals Act 1998 NSW.

“In mid 2011 Cessnock City Council signed a Deed of Agreement with the RSCPA NSW to outsource its impounding operations,” Cr. Ryan’s motion states.

“These operations were to be based at the RSPCA NSW’s animal shelter at Rutherford. A condition of the contract required the RSPCA NSW to consider the involvement of animal rescue groups to assist in the re-homing of animals (from Cessnock).

“Since the commencement of the impounding contract on 1 August 2011 I am informed that the RSPCA has not released one companion animal to any rescue group who previously operated in conjunction with the Council’s impounding facility based at Kurri Kurri.

“Council is required by the Companion Animals Act NSW to seek alternatives prior to destruction of a companion animal. Section 64 states:

“(5) Before destroying a seized or surrendered animal as authorised by subsection (1), it is the duty of the council concerned to consider whether there is an alternative action to that of destroying the animal and (if practicable) to adopt any such alternative.

“It is in the interests of the community of Cessnock that our obligations are implemented in the most humane way possible.”

Society of Companion Animal Rescuers (SoCares) vice-president David Atwell is urging people to attend tonight’s meeting to demonstrate their support for local rescue groups.