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Communication not the best, says vet

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

Broken Hill Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Guillaume Tabuteau. Broken Hill Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Guillaume Tabuteau.

By Emily McInerney

The current operator of the Broken Hill pound expects to see some changes once City Council take over, some that may hinder getting pets home to their owners.

Broken Hill Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Guillaume Tabuteau said he was surprised by what he said was a lack of communication between himself and Council regarding the new development of the pound.

“Of course council should have been communicating with me in regards to what practices and procedures will have to occur once the council resumes responsibility for all stray animal matters,” Dr Tabuteau wrote in a letter to Council’s General Manager, James Roncon.

“A great number of services the Broken Hill Vet Clinic has provided for free to council, so as to help the ratepayers, will of course, no longer  be available,” he wrote.

“(They will) no longer provide the service of reading microchips of stray dogs and cats, allowing immediate return to owners; not accept any stray animals whatsoever whether in-hours, or out-of-hours, weekends, holidays and not accept feral cats; not accept injured animals from the police or public.

“They will have to provide free board and lodging for impounded animals once their time is up until adoption can be achieved.”

Dr Tabuteau said running the pound wasn’t just 9am to 5pm, five days a week.

“There will be other services we provide that council will have to consider, such as after-hours collection of animals by individuals working out of town all week, or whose work hours prevent collection during normal work hours,” he said.

In 2017, a Council report revealed that a tender was advertised for the new animal pound which would be located near the airport.

The report stated that “$210,000 is committed from the Council’s Section 94A contributions fund towards the project, any additional expenses will be covered from council’s capital expenditure budget”.

At the May Council meeting, it was discussed in confidential matters to extend the budget for the pound. The budget will now be between $400,000 and $450,000.

After the meeting, Mr Roncon said they will be renovating a building they own to house the pound.

“Originally it was going to be built on a green field site,” he said. 

“It’s now actually a building that we own on the airport site that we’re going to renovate.

“We budgeted around $250,000 to $280,000 to do the work but when we’ve gone out to market and got a contractor to come in and do it the market has dictated that that price is a little bit greater than the $280,000.”

Mr Roncon also said that they had kept Dr Tabuteau in the loop and that he would probably not move to the new pound, but that was yet to be determined.

During the week, a Council spokesman said they had informed Dr Tabuteau of the new development in writing on May 3, 2016.

In terms of noise monitoring of the current pound, council said the investigation was extensive.

“Council staff went out there many times over the last three years to investigate and monitor barking complaints,” he said.

He said once the new pound was open, all strays are to be taken there.

“People should take animals to the pound if found as a stray, not the Broken Hill Vet Clinic; Council will be the pound facility.”

The spokesman said as part of Council operating the pound, they will continue to scan microchips and notify owners of missing pets.

“Council’s pound will either outsource micro-chipping or do it in-house but there won’t be an afterhours service,” he said.

However, it will only operate to house animals and if an injured animal was found it should be taken to a vet clinic.

“The pound is not a vet hospital; injured animals must go to RSPCA,” he said.

He said Council paid a fee to have the pound opened after hours and a flat fee to have animals housed there once the timeframe has lapsed for impounded animals.

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