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