Dog­house to poor­house

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

SHEN­TON Park dog and cat homes are won­der­ing how they will cope if the Com­pan­ion An­i­mal Shel­ter grant for home­less pets stops fol­low­ing the 2015-16 State Bud­get.

“Af­ter that, it’s not look­ing good,” Dogs’ Refuge Home gen­eral manager Judy Flana­gan said.

For the past three years, the Lem­nos Street refuge has re­ceived $75,000 each year from the $200,000 an­nual Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment fund that has op­er­ated since De­cem­ber, 2012.

The money cov­ered a third of the refuge’s ve­teri­nary fees to ster­ilise, vac­ci­nate, mi­crochip and re­house up to 1000 dogs each year.

How­ever, es­ti­mates in the State Bud­get on May 8 showed no money for the grants in 12 months.

“With­out that sup­port, we would have to find the money from else­where (like) the com­mu­nity and cor­po­rate back­ing, which would be very dif­fi­cult in this cur­rent fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment,” Ms Flana­gan said.

The fund also pro­vided $75,000 an­nu­ally for two years to rebuild pens at the nearby Shen­ton Park Cat Haven, where it costs $13 a day to care for each of the 330 home­less cats, with an­other 550 in foster care.

About $75,000 was ex­pected from the fund in 2015-16.

Cat Haven mar­ket­ing manager Chan­dra Wood­ley said while the grant was only for im­prove­ment projects and not re­cur­rent costs and there was no guar­an­tee it would be in­def­i­nite, it was “a real shame” it could be cut af­ter 2015-16.

Work is con­tin­u­ing on im­prov­ing the site, which now has more cats and is a cat fa­cil­ity for 12 lo­cal coun­cils.

“If we could use on­go­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ing for our ex­pan­sion projects to house more cats, we wouldn’t have to use our valu­able do­nated funds that are sorely needed for ev­ery­day food and other run­ning costs,” Ms Wood­ley said

A spokesman for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son said fund­ing be­yond 2015-16 may be con­sid­ered in “fu­ture bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions”. He said $200,000 each year for four years was com­mit­ted for an­i­mal res­cue groups and shel­ters, as well as leg­is­lat­ing new cat and dog acts, to re­duce the num­ber of aban­doned pets.

THERE could be more stray cats and dogs on the streets if the State Gov­ern­ment cuts fund­ing for the Cat Haven and Dogs’ Refuge Home in the next fi­nan­cial year. Right now, the gov­ern­ment money is help­ing to en­sure cats and dogs are mi­crochipped and ster­ilised be­fore they are re­homed. Less fund­ing means th­ese cru­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions in Shen­ton Park may have to re­duce the num­ber of cats and dogs they can take in. This means more home­less an­i­mals breed­ing more home­less an­i­mals and a higher num­ber even­tu­ally be­ing put down. We can help by en­cour­ag­ing our friends and fam­ily to find their new pet from refuges and havens rather than breed­ers or pet shops. There’s only so many cup­cake sales, com­mu­nity open days, raf­fles, fundrais­ing runs and char­ity cam­paigns cat and dog lovers can sup­port to keep the money rolling in for th­ese vol­un­teer-run groups that are a big part of our com­mu­nity.

Denise S. Cahill -Edi­tor

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson­mu­ni­ .au d438588

Chan­dra Wood­ley from the Cat Haven with Kali and Dogs’ Refuge Home gen­eral manager Judy Flana­gan with Sierra.

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