Quest for dog pound goes on

By John Maslin

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CONTROVERSIAL: Dogs have been gassed at the Ridgway St facility.
CONTROVERSIAL: Dogs have been gassed at the Ridgway St facility.

Whanganui District Council is still looking at potential sites for a new dog pound.

The search for a new site - and a new facility - started after a public outcry over the gassing of unwanted dogs at the Ridgway St facility in 2014.

Council tagged $450,000 for a new animal welfare centre last year, and Jonathan Barrett, council deputy strategy and development manager, told the Chronicle that officers were still evaluating a number of sites.

In March last year Mr Barrett had told council a possible site was on council-owned land in Carson St but there were other options in Airport Rd and other parts of Castlecliff.

The existing pound was built in the 1980s but was at the centre of a public outcry over the method of euthanasing unwanted dogs.

A petition to outlaw gassing of strays attracted signatures throughout New Zealand and the world from people angry that carbon monoxide was used.

In the wake of the petition, council stopped gassing dogs and used its emergency budget to fund local vets using lethal injections.

In the wake of that furore, council decided the facility needed a major overhaul.

As well as changing the method of euthanasing animals, the pound came under the microscope after it was found to be well short of animal welfare standards and operational requirements.

Shortcomings included insufficient kennel space and inadequate drainage, lack of shelter from the weather, lack of quarantine facilities, inadequate exercise area, and all on a small site in an inappropriate location.

The new pound is likely to include an animal welfare centre involving local vets and the SPCA as well as facilities for the animals, veterinary services, and education and training facilities.

Funding has been tagged for 2016-18.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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