We are constantly bombarded with the idea that the reason there are so many pets in shelters is because there is ‘too many’ pets – that ‘irresponsible owners’ are abandoning pets in record numbers and that shelters are simply a passive victim in their situation. Pet owners are to blame!
However, currently in Australia there is no requirement for shelters to limit the number of pound contracts they take on. That is, regardless of the size of their facility, they are able to take on the pets of new councils as often as they wish. Even if this means they take on more pets than they can reasonably process. There is also no requirement for them to actually save pets; they can take in as many pets as they want – kill them all – and still be paid for their services.
The Lost Dogs Home has for decades blamed ‘irresponsible owners’ for their pet population problems. However, their function is primarily to act as a safety net for lost pets. That is what a shelter does – offers a place of safety for a pet until it’s owner can be located (and then looks to rehome it, pass it to rescue etc).
The Lost Dogs Home currently offers pound service to ten local councils from its North Melbourne facility.
In Victoria, about one person in seven has a dog, while one person in nine have a cat. Based on the human population of each of these councils, we see that the North Melbourne Lost Dogs Home service the following populations;
Brimbank City Council (170,000 people = 24,000 dogs, 19,000 cats)
Darebin City Council (130,000 people = 19,000 dogs, 14,000 cats)
Hobson’s Bay (80,000 people = 11,000 dogs, 9,000 cats)
Hume City Council (175,000 people = 25,000 dogs, 19,000 cats)
Maribyrnong City Council (63,000 people = 9,000 dogs, 7,000 cats)
Moonee Valley City Council (107,000 people = 15,000 dogs, 12,000 cats)
Moreland City Council (135,000 people = 19,000 dogs (Dogs Only. Cats go to Cat Protection Society)
Port Phillip (85,000 people = 12,000 dogs, 9,000 cats)
Wyndham City Council (112,000 people = 16,000 dogs, 12,000 cats)
Yarra City Council (70,000 people = 10,000 dogs, 8,000 cats)
TOTALS = 1,127,000 people, 150,000 dogs, 109,000 cats
If between 5 and 10% of pets need the help of a shelter each year, that’s about 15,000 dogs and 10,000 cats entering the shelter just as lost owned pets.
This is not ‘overpopulation’ – this is simply bad shelter management. Each one of those council contracts were sought out and won – taking the contract from other shelters, or the council’s own pound.
Each one of those pets have an owner who is most likely frantically looking for their pets. And without a facility for owners to search online, they potentially have to travel as far as the outskirts of Hume and Wyndham to be reunited with their pets.
Animal shelters are self-managed and have created this artificial ‘overpopulation’ to maintain their businesses. It is in their interests to be busy and full of pets – the more pets they process, the more money they make. The problem is, without a requirement for lives to also be saved, they have become efficient and relentless killers.
The Lost Dogs Home North Melbourne have today, three dogs available for adoption;
From Rescued With Love:
- They have an annual budget of 17 million dollars.
- They hold more than 2/3 of our Metropolitan Council Contracts.
- They are expanding interstate.
- They killed approximately 14,000 pets last year.
We are just finishing a long weekend. A weekend where people are back from holidays, and have the time to find a new pet. Time to settle them in before they go back to work. The busiest period for impounding animals is at its zenith – the dumpage before Christmas, the unwanted Christmas present, the fireworks of New Year – all force our pounds to overflowing.
And yet there is one dog up for adoption at the largest pound in the Southern Hemisphere. And they were open for half a day.
I sincerely hope that the staff at the LDH are not congratulating themselves on this fact – that they only have one dog left in the adoption pens. Because they should have another twenty or thirty. When two hundred dogs come in a week – you can’t just put up a rough dozen or so. Where are the others?
You cannot run out of pets at the largest pound in Australia. You just can’t. No one, not one person can say this is ok. It’s not. It’s not ok. How many died this week I ask? How many did you not even try to help and could have? How many could have been treated and recovered if allowed? How many could have gone to rescue – and been saved? I can’t even think of any other pound/shelter or Rescue that only has one dog for adoption.
We have to design a better system for our pets and it begins when we reject the idea that we – the community – are responsible for the poor shelter management that is driving shelter ‘overpopulation’ and killing our pets.