How much should it cost a rescue to save a pet that a pound will otherwise kill?

July 24, 2017

The answer is obvious, obviously... Nothing. Nada. Zip. 

Zero dollars and nil cents.

It should cost a rescue group nothing - no money at all - to collect a 'death row' pet from a pound. Because this rescue group is doing the pound an enormous favour and service in taking unclaimed, unadopted pets. 

If we make the reasonably fair assumption the modern pet owner (of which 40% of households are) doesn't want their rates and pet registrations spent on offering a boutique-pet-killing service down at their local pound, saving the lives of pets is a core function of council. Therefore rescue are stepping in to do the work of the council for free. 

If anything, the pound should be paying the rescue group; just as they do any other contractor that does valuable, fundamental work for them. Which is why any non-avoidable fees (vaccinations, registration, microchipping (and desexing in 16D or 18C states of Australia)) should be covered by the council running the pound and gifted without charge to the non-profit as a sign of goodwill and appreciation for their indispensable support.

If I'm a pound who has a pet who has run out of time/options, and you're a reputable rescue group who will take him so our council doesn't have to spend money on killing him, then you take him for FREE, no questions asked. Here - take him.

From there, the rescue can negotiate a bulk discount at a sympathetic vet. They can charge an adoption fee which covers their expenses with a little bit of cream on the top, to pay for treatment of sick or special needs pets, give support to disadvantaged pet owners in the community, or grow awareness of their charity. They might even one day reach a point where they can start paying the good people running their group for their time. The rescue is able to shoot for a position of sustainability.

Which is why stories like this are so utterly ridiculous;

Paws Hoofs and Claws has been operating in Mount Isa for the last eight years, saving hundreds of dogs and cats from death row. 

The seemingly unstoppable Sue Carsen visits the Mount Isa City Council Pound every second day and takes note of who’s in there for collection. She and a small group of dedicated volunteers find foster homes and forever homes for furry creatures, great and small. And they boast low drop out rates, placing pets with loving families who understand the responsibilities that come with owning an animal.

Sue dedicates 80 to 100 hours a week to her passion, caring for the sick and injured, paying costly vet bills, and finding homes for puppies (easy) and older dogs (not so easy).

But Council doesn’t discriminate when it comes to charging for animal collection – $450 per puppy/dog and $280 per kitten/cat.

If you think the charity receives a discount, you’d be wrong – in fact collection fees have just gone up.

To rescue a litter of nine puppies, the charity now needs to come up with more than $4000.

In February Glencore gave the charity a grant for a food truck, which they fundraise with at every opportunity.

Having been invited to participate in Council’s Pet Day this Saturday, the group will be cooking up a storm.

The North West Star; "The problem with our pets" (21 July 2017) 

So we have Mount Isa Council who gets paid by ratepayers and pet registrations to run their local pound. They then "open" their pound one hour, twice a day, on weekdays to "try" to adopt them

And when all of that "effort" doesn't work out, they kill the pets and lay blame firmly where it belongs - rescue groups who lack capacity and the public's unwillingness to pay $400 for an adopted dog.

Council says... despite rescue efforts, Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch said up to 90 dogs are euthanised each month.

“That’s a tragedy for the animal as well as a significant expense for ratepayers which can be anywhere up to $3500 per week in pound and veterinary services. There is a fee for releasing the animals but that fee doesn’t always cover costs,” Cr McCulloch said.

In fact, having faced criticism in the past for their prices, Council issued a statement on their website;

Pound Adoption Fees

The adoption fees set by the Council go towards the care of the animal while in the pounds care, as well as a number of services including but not limited to desexing and microchipping.

A general breakdown of these fees include desexing – up to $250 depending on sex and weight, $60 microchipping, registration fees,  veterinarian fees, and any additional treatments required, and general day to day running of the facility.

These adoption fees help cover the medical care of the animal while he or she waits for a new home, as well as food and transportation costs. These fees help to provide care for the other animals in the pound that may have medical bills that are much higher than any possible adoption fee.

These fees are similar to most offered from Council owned pounds throughout Australia, and allow us to care for these animals and continue the adoption services.

Reducing these fees would place us in a situation where operating costs would increase and essentially jeopardise our adoption practices.

Mount Isa Council website

Hangon, hangon, hangon.

What are you talking about. Your "adoption practices" are seeing 90 dogs a month, ending up dead and a bill for $3,500 a week for disposal costs! Based on results alone, this is not a good investment of the community's resources.

Exactly which "adoption practices" would be "jeopardised"? Would you just stop opening the front door at all?

From the Paws Hoofs and Claws FB page;

"We get charged the same amount to adopt an animal from the pound as everyone else. Out of all the adoptions from the pound - we adopt about 99% of them!"

... and Council respects and values the effort by this group, by ignoring it completely and counting the "save" as one of their own.


But what is the real cost of all of this council fuckery? To the lives of pets obviously. All these pets have lost their lives in the last few months.

Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed (The pound gets a lot of parvo - wonder why?)
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Parvo diagnosis - Killed by Mount Isa Council
Parvo diagnosis - ‍Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council (and another parvo-trap floor)
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council
Killed by Mount Isa Council

In short - Mount Isa City Council's  "adoption practices" suck for the rescue groups trying to support this pound. 

They suck for the community who might want to adopt these pets. 

And most of all, they suck for the pets, killed over this council-mandated financial ransom of their lives.

It would be obvious to anyone with even a hint of compassion, that giving these - and any other dogs who need protection from this kill-happy pound - to rescues for free, would be of benefit to the dogs who lose their lives in support of councils "adoption practices".

There is a massive difference between a council who works with rescue....

... and a council who simply holds pets under threat of death until a rescue group can fundraise enough (from the same community already paying to run the pound) to save the pet council is arranging to kill.

Mount Isa is a straight up hell on earth for pets. If you're currently a community member investing in it, you're being ripped off.

References (a history of wtaf practices)

The North West Star; "Rehoming unwanted dogs is expensive work" (21 July 2017) 

The North West Star; "Justice for Gizmo" (28 Jan 2015)

A council employee who mistakenly euthanised an elderly man’s pet dog has been sacked. An internal investigation by Mount Isa City Council revealed the man neglected in his duty when he “accidentally” put down the 65-year-old Mount Isa resident’s shih tzu Gizmo on Friday.

“The service of the council officer, who despite being instructed otherwise by his supervising officer, was responsible for the euthanasia of a dog on Friday morning has been terminated,” a council statement read.
Mr James said the forms stated Gizmo was declared a ‘‘dangerous dog’’ and it would cost his owner $2000 to retrieve him from the pound, $700 for registration for the first year and then $400 each year after.

Mr James’s wife made a frantic call to the pound on the afternoon of the surrender, which assured her Gizmo would be kept alive until Friday as she “had made such a big deal of it”.

A visit to council two days later, on Friday afternoon, also assured her Gizmo was safe and well at the pound, and that he could be picked up on Tuesday after the Monday public holiday. Despite the assurances, Gizmo was put down on Friday morning.

ABC North West Queensland "Saving pound pets from death row" (29 April 2014)

About 75 per cent of the cats that arrive at Mount Isa City Council's pound will never walk out of there alive. Hundreds of unwanted cats are euthanised in the north-west Queensland city each year... Councillor McGrady says 75 percent of cats, and 20 per cent of dogs, that come to the local pound will need to be euthanised.

2012 - wtaf

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