Pounds "doing all they can" to save lives

May 3, 2017

At the end of 2014, a campaign was launched by PetRescue to "Help PetRescue Fix the Pound"

Your donation to PetRescue today can save thousands of pets from being killed in Australia's pounds.
Help us raise $50,000 to start fixing Australia's pounds.
All funds raised will be invested in PetRescue's Safe & Sound Pounds Program 2015 - giving pound staff the tools they need to implement effective life-saving adoption programs and offering maximum exposure to lost and homeless pets.

The campaign would raise an overwhelming $63,000 from animal lovers who wanted to see the lives of pets protected in the pound. The community wanted this. It was by far PetRescue's most successful fundraising campaign.

The plan for pound engagement was simple. PetRescue would contact every pound in Australia, offering their services in coaching staff to use the PetRescue website. All pound staff had to do - instead of injecting a pet with poison, or shooting him in the head - was to take a photo of the pet, upload it to the website and then take phone calls from the adopters who wanted to give him a home. At the time the PetRescue website was rehoming more pets annually than were being listed on the site - that is, they had a more than 100% rehoming rate for pets.

Should have been an easy sell, no? Because '... no one wants to kill pets - pound staff are simply forced into it by the fact they're so overwhelmed and overpopulated and could never find enough homes...."

Not kill - photograph and adopt. Easy.

And with nearly 200 pounds in Australia, the number of pound staff who would leap to use this service so they could stop killing pets "... because no one wants to kill pets..." would be pretty huge. So many!! lives would be saved - they just had to let the pound staff know this option to not kill pets was available to their councils for free and they'd rush to stop the killing. Wouldn't they?

PetRescue sent attendees to the annual conference for pound staff to present on how the idea of photographing and adopting - not killing - pets could be rolled out in their own community. It was really very simple. Just photograph and adopt - not kill.

Image: Australian Institute of Animal Management (AIAM) FB page

So how has the pound system of Australia embraced the idea that it could be photographing and adopting pets, instead of killing them?

If we exclude the pounds who already were using PetRescue prior to 'Safe and Sound Pounds' campaign; Blacktown Animal Holding Facility (early 2014), Sutherland Shire Council Animal Shelter (2012), SoCares Wyong Animal Care Facility / Wyong Shire Animal Care Facility (2012), Canterbury Council Pound (2013), Enfield Veterinary Hospital (2012) and Mornington Peninsula Community Animal Shelter (mid 2014)

And the pounds who never used their PetRescue account; Gilgandra Shire Council, Harden Shire Council and Hawkesbury Animal Shelter

And the pounds who have no listings/are inactive; Richmond Valley Council, Ararat Rural City Council, Cootamundra Pound, Moorabool Shire Council, Fraser Coast Regional Council, ACT Govt – TCCS – Domestic Animal Services (DAS) and Redland City Council

We see finally the list of pounds who are now actively using PetRescue, thanks to the Safe and Sound Pounds program;

- Central Coast Animal Care Facility (Gosford Pound) (22 listings)

- Wollondilly Shire Council  (6/3 listings)

- Campbelltown Animal Care Facility (8/6 listings)

- Goulburn Mulwaree Council (2 listings)

- Shire of Campaspe Animal Shelter (12/13 listings)

- Logan City Council (4 listings)

Or 6 pounds. Bringing the total up to 12 pounds using the website. From the nearly 100 council run pounds in the country.

12 pounds for the entire nation of 20 million people, the overwhelming majority of which want to see pets protected.

The majority of pounds aren't doing this one simple thing that would eliminate their need to kill pets - photograph and adopt.

And unfortunately, PetRescue's strategy of simply letting pounds know that adopting pets they are choosing to kill is an option available to them, is a failure. Why?

Because despite what is often claimed, pounds do want to kill pets.

It's easy.

It's cheap.

You don't have to talk to people.

Just kill the pet... and done.

When pounds are staffed by people who don't want to kill pets, you can tell. The killing stops.

Does your pound have a PetRescue account that it uses to promote every pet?

If not, why are you defending them? When you should be fighting them.

Get the resources you need to overhaul your local pound

Shelter Reform Guidebooks

A pep-talk from someone who is leading the charge

Go. You. Fix your local pound for real.

Additional note: While no longer involved with PetRescue, I was an architect for the original Safe and Sound Pounds program. But I recognised from the beginning that pounds were not going to implement these programs willingly. The original project was designed to help community members force the changes needed. I even gave a presentation on why people should stop starting rescue groups, and start advocacy groups instead. Unfortunately, the vision of this project and the project resources paid for by the community were lost soon after the project launched, betraying both the pets, and the donors who gave so generously to see real change take place.

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