Q. What’s the biggest threat to cats and dogs in our pound system?

A. Being killed despite available alternatives.

While Victorian’s would be horrified to know of the high kill rates in our pounds and shelters, the body overseeing the Code of Practice they operate under doesn’t appear that concerned.

In the first revision to the Code since 1998, the Bureau of Animal Welfare has introduced new restrictions that would make the work of organisations trying to rehome animals harder.

Fireworks and thunderstorms often result in an influx of frightened runaway dogs being impounded. Instead of killing healthy dogs to make space for them, some organisations use foster carers. The proposed code bans the use of foster care for this and any other grounds not listed in the Code.

2.8 Foster Care
The only time an animal can be placed in foster care is on the grounds of juvenile, veterinary rehabilitation or behavioural rehabilitation foster care.
Proposed Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds

The authors of this draft don’t seem overly concerned about whether cats and dogs get out alive, as long as they’re comfy while impounded. This is completely at odds with community expectations but appears to be consistent with the definition of animal welfare the Bureau chooses to put on its homepage:

Animal Welfare
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing.
Victorian Bureau of Animal Welfare

This draft of the Code unfairly limits our alternatives to killing and does precious little to increase reclaim or rehome rates. It simply doesn’t reflect community attitudes towards companion animals.