Stop The Clock » government Abolish the 28 Day Rule for Victorian Shelters Thu, 30 Jun 2011 03:03:46 +0000 en hourly 1 New Draft of Code Removes 28 Day Rule! Sat, 05 Mar 2011 13:55:42 +0000 Mike Bailey It was a nice surprise to get a call from the Bureau of Animal Welfare just over a week ago. I knew it would take time for the dust to settle after the change in Government. I knew we had to be patient. But it’s hard forget about the needless destruction of these cats and dogs that will continue until this change becomes law.

This call brought good news. A new draft of the Code of Practice had been delivered to the Minister and all mention of the 28 Day Rule had been removed from it. This is exactly what we’ve been calling for!

The draft is now with the Minister. He may decide to:

  • get the opinion of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
  • request changes to be made
  • put it out to public consultation

There will be other changes in the Code which we’ll be scrutinizing. Keep in touch through our Facebook page for updates.

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Labor Indicates Intention to Abolish Arbitrary Deadline for Animals Thu, 25 Nov 2010 03:02:10 +0000 Mike Bailey I’ve spent several hours discussing this with the Ministers office and have been assured that they ‘get it’. The statement has been approved for release by the Minister. I think we’ve been heard.

The law in the Code of Practice for the management of dogs and cats in shelters and pounds is more than 20 years old so its important that this year we decided to review the code so we could take the necessary steps to ensure the great work that animal foster carers do can continue.

This review of the Code will be presented to the next Agriculture Minister after the election. What we will do if re-elected  is make sure that foster carers are recognised under a new Code and no longer have to be registered as a domestic animal business.

It will mean foster carers can continue doing their great work but also include minimum standards to ensure all animals are protected.

Labor will also end the maximum 28-day holding rule that currently exists in shelters and pounds that means animals are euthanased when there could be an opportunity to find them a new home.

Instead of a time limit, it will move to a case-by-case individual assessment basis and we’re confident that this will mean more animals find new homes and less animals are euthanased.

This is all part of a comprehensive package that Labor has put forward to protect animals and this can be found by visiting

Joe Helper
Minister for Agriculture

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Stonnington Council Endorses Campaign Sat, 20 Nov 2010 10:12:22 +0000 Mike Bailey UPDATE: The Council voted unanimously to support our campaign to remove the 28 Day Rule!

Stonnington Council plan to vote on endorsing our campaign to remove Victoria’s 28 Day Rule for Shelters. As a council committed to saving the lives of lost pets, Stonnington are being proactive in calling for the removal of this unnecessary restriction. The vote is expected to occur late on Monday night’s meeting.

Campaign to abolish 28 Day Rule imposed on Animal Shelters

Manager: Bernard Mulholland

General Manager: Connie Gibbons


The purpose of this report is to advise Council of a campaign to seek the removal of the existing 28 day restriction on the keeping of dogs and cats in pounds and shelters. The campaign organiser is seeking support for this position from animal welfare agencies, Councils and shelters.


Council received an email request from advising that a campaign called had been commenced to seek the State Government to abolish the 28-day rule imposed on Victorian shelters for the holding of unowned dogs and cats. The Code of Practice for the management of dogs and cats in shelters and pounds requires:

The maximum time any animal selected for sale can be held at a shelter is four weeks. At the conclusion of this period, the animal must be euthanised or permanently removed from the facility, for example, by placement in a foster program.

The campaign organiser claims that the above restriction results in the unnecessary killing of many cats and dogs for no reason other than to comply with the Code. He further advises that no other Australian State or Territory imposes such a restriction and that the restriction only applies to unowned animals (breeding and boarding facilities do not carry a time limit). The organiser suggests that shelters should be trusted to assess the needs of the individual dogs and cats that they deem suitable for rehousing.

While not stated in the email, it is assumed that the campaign is not seeking the abolition of euthanasia of impounded animals that are not able to be rehoused, rather to have greater flexibility in rehousing suitable animals. This can be important in the case of injured or sick animals where the current time restriction may not allow sufficient time for the animal to recover and be rehomed.


In discussion with Save a Dog Scheme (SADS), which operates Council’s Pound, they advise that the removal of this restriction would provide them with an appropriate amount of time to find suitable owners for stray and abandoned animals especially dogs. While stray and abandoned cats present in greater numbers and rehousing is less successful, the removal of the restriction would allow for increased rehoming. With over 35,000 cats euthanased in Victoria each year, the opportunity through extended rehoming periods and other population strategies to allow for more cats to be purchased should be considered. SADS have advised the organiser of their support to the campaign.

The Labor Government issued a press release on 27 October 2010 stating a re-elected Government would “extend the maximum holding period for animals in shelters and pounds to allow more animals to be rehabilitated and re-housed”. The Bureau of Animal Welfare, which issues the Code of Practice, views the restriction as an appropriate method of ensuring that pounds and shelters are not overstocked with stray and abandoned animals that the operators cannot rehome. In recommending amendments to the Code regarding fostering, the Bureau recently recommended that the current 28 days could be extended to 36 days to allow for increased rehoming without significant impact. Pounds and shelters are stressful places for animals and the purpose of a time limit is to ensure that animals do not remain in shelters for so long that their health or behaviour are negatively affected, perhaps permanently, due to institutionalisation.

An unintended outcome of removing the limits could be overcrowding or a reduction in available spaces for new animals in pounds and shelters that are occupied by long-term animals, particularly cats. In Stonnington’s case, the issue of overcrowding would be regulated through the terms of our agreement with the pound operator that required the operator to ensure sufficient space is available for the reception of new stray and abandoned animals from Stonnington and Boroondara. Our Pound operator, SADS, also has the advantage of utilising its recently acquired Yarrambat property to hold animals while permanent homes can be found.

The Victorian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) is a non-statutory committee constituted by the Minister of Agriculture to provide advice on animal welfare issues. The Committee includes representatives from the RSPCA, Animals Australia, the Australian Veterinary Association and the MAV, among others. The proposal to extend or eliminate the maximum holding period for animals in shelters and pounds has not been raised with the Committee at this time.

Human Rights Consideration

This recommendation complies with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.


The imposition of a time restriction on the rehoming of stray and abandoned dogs and cats has the potential for suitable animals to be destroyed due to a lack of time to find a proper owner. By removing this restriction within the Code of Practice, shelter operators would be provided with greater flexibility in determining the amount of time necessary to find a permanent home for these animals. In the case of the Stonnington Pound, any potential for overcrowding is able to be regulated through the Operating Agreement.


That Council:

1. Advises the organiser of the StoptheClock campaign of its support for the removal of the 28-day rule for the holding of dogs and cats in Pounds and Shelters

2. Advises the Bureau of Animal Welfare and the Chair of the Victorian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee of Council’s support for the removal of the 28-day rule for the holding of dogs and cats in Pounds and Shelters.

Stonnington Council Agenda/Notice Paper 22 Nov 2010

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Tell Joe Helper We’ve Had Enough Tue, 09 Nov 2010 12:52:44 +0000 Mike Bailey It’s Week 3 of our campaign to remove the ‘28 Day Deadline‘ for cats and dogs looking for homes in Victorian. It’s hard to believe we’ve made so much progress in just two weeks!

  • All of Melbourne’s animal shelters express support for the removal of this arbitrary time limit
  • Over 3200 individuals have joined our Facebook group
  • The campaign is already been reported on radio and in the press

The man who can fix this mess with a stroke of his pen is Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Joe Helper, but he doesn’t appear to be listening. We think he should be. After all, as few as 500 votes could see him lose his marginal seat of Ripon in the election at the end of this month.

Time To Contact Joe Helper Directly

Joe (showing his best side in the photo below) can be contacted by mail, phone, fax, email and even Facebook. We think we deserve a response from him on this issue.

Extra points if you know anyone who lives in the key seat of Ripon (download map). Please be sure to let them know about this issue. Ripon includes many towns including Maryborough, Stawell, Clunes and Avoca.

Let Joe Helper Know the 28 Day Rule Must Go

Electorate Office

Address 177 High Street, Maryborough 3465
Phone (03) 5461 1255
Fax (03) 5461 1631
Postal Address PO Box 175, Maryborough 3465

Ministerial Office

Address Level 22, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne
Phone (03) 9658 4670
Fax (03) 9658 4631


Email Address
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