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Vet slams new pound plan

Wednesday, 25th May, 2016

One of the sites Council investigated for its new purpose-built pound, nearby the airport. A second preferred location sits hidden away on the airport grounds nearby an old satellite station. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel One of the sites Council investigated for its new purpose-built pound, nearby the airport. A second preferred location sits hidden away on the airport grounds nearby an old satellite station. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By By Erica Visser

The local pound operator claims ratepayers will suffer for Council’s decision to take over its management, while the city will be left inundated with feral cats.

Councillors will tonight vote on the preferred location for a new pound, armed with a report from management that recommends a hidden site on the airport grounds, west of an old satellite station.

The pound has been contracted to local vet, Dr Guillame “Tabby” Tabateau, for the past 14 years but it was now argued his Rakow Street clinic was no longer an appropriate location for the service.

General Manager James Roncon said complaints over barking dogs within the residential area had played a role in the decision, as had the condition of the pound. 

But Dr Tabby claimed the decision was a political one and that Council hadn’t done its research properly before approving the move. 

“It’s not efficient for Council to run (the pound), they couldn’t do it last time and this will be no different,” he told the BDT.

“Looking at our costings compared with what they’ll be paying, the straight out labour costs will already put them behind the eight ball without adding food, euthanasia costs and the medical expenses for the broken legs, the parvo (virus) and the dog fights.”

He added that the construction of a new facility would likely set Council back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’ll cost $200,000 to $500,000 to build and then it will sit there to depreciate. Meanwhile they’re getting rid of the library and the film studios because of depreciation.

“I don’t mind losing the pound, but everybody will see a hit to the hip pocket.” 

Dr Tabby was also concerned the city’s stray animal problem would worsen if there were cuts to after-hours and weekend services.

“We do an unofficial (weekend service) but now we’re not going to be collecting strays at the weekend and that’s when a lot of people bring in feral cats.

“We will see a massive problem.”

The vet also claimed that council staff and an elected representative had previously visited at night and were unable to conclude complaints over excessive barking were founded. 

Meanwhile, the report stated the preferred site for the new pound sat out of view of tourists and had all the required existing facilities including access to phone, internet and amenities for staff. 

It was located more than 150 metres away from the nearest office buildings and the kennels would face north to further reduce noise and provide more warm comfort for impounded animals. 

Under the proposal, access to the site would be via a back road and users would not travel past the airport terminal.

Two more options were considered by Council including another located near the airport across from the Uniting Church’s hangar and one at the depot.

Mayor Wincen Cuy said in April that Dr Tabby would retain the pound contract on a monthly basis until construction of the new building was complete.

However the vet said no negotiations had been made and he had only discovered Council’s intentions after reading about the decision in the BDT before eventually receiving a letter last week.

An initial report on the matter remained confidential and Council had not yet revealed projected costings for the development.

Councillors will make a decision on the preferred location for the new pound during a monthly meeting tonight.

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