Stop The Clock » shelters Abolish the 28 Day Rule for Victorian Shelters Thu, 30 Jun 2011 03:03:46 +0000 en hourly 1 Animal Aid Speaks Out Thu, 18 Nov 2010 06:23:50 +0000 Mike Bailey

Animal ‘death sentence’ law decried


UNWANTED dogs and cats at shelters often face an unnecessary death sentence under an archaic Victorian law that Coldstream’s Animal Aid and other shelters have called to be abolished.Victoria is the only Australian state or territory to impose an arbitrary limit on how long animals at shelters can be offered for adoption – a 28-day deadline where animals are often euthanased.

Animal Aid, which is contracted for pound services with Yarra Ranges Council, has joined more than six other state-wide agencies in an online campaign to ban the 28-day adoption deadline.

The shelters want the government to abolish the “28-day rule” and enforce the same codes of practice used by pet shops, boarding or breeding facilities which have no restrictions or time limits imposed.

General manager Nell Thompson said the holding period did nothing to improve the outcomes for the animals and it forced shelters and rescue services to play an adversarial role with the community and their supporter base. “The welfare and rehabilitation of the individual concerned must always be a priority, no matter how long the animal concerned is held.”

Animal Aid spokeswoman Debra Boland said although most dogs at the shelter were rehomed in about two weeks, cat adoption was a major issue. “For the most part, cat welfare is 20 years behind dog welfare – they have very little support.

“We have a rehabilitation program, and specially trained volunteers to help our animals cope with being at the shelter, to keep them as sane as possible, but the adoption process needs to be individualised, assessed on a case by case basis, not by time.”

Ms Boland said 41 cats were brought to the centre by the council last month.

“Of those cats five were reclaimed, four have already found homes, six have been euthanased due to severe poor health or temperament, 18 are out on foster and eight are up for adoption.”

The campaign has been lauded by Animal Aid, RSPCA Victoria, Lost Dogs’ Home and the Australian Animal Protection Society. Campaign organiser Mike Bailey said shelters should not be forced to kill pets they are trying to rehome.

Yarra Ranges Weekly, 09 Nov, 2010

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Even More Press Coverage! Tue, 16 Nov 2010 01:00:14 +0000 Mike Bailey

Pets dying to find a new home


THE Keysborough Animal Shelter has joined a growing campaign to change state rules requiring shelters to kill animals not rehoused within 28 days.

Under Department of Primary Industry guidelines, dogs and cats selected for sale can only be held at shelters for four weeks. After that time they must be adopted or killed.

Online campaign Stop the Clock is calling for the abolition of a time limit.

Volunteer dog walker Denise Harrison said some animals needed longer to be adopted.

“It seems unfair to impose a time limit. I don’t see why anyone would think it was a bad idea to change the rule,” Ms Harrison said.

“It can take a little bit of time for shelters to find the right family and sometimes larger dogs need every one of those 28 days.”

Keysborough Animal Shelter treasurer Christine Giles said the refuge supported a rule change.

“We would like to see it changed,” Ms Giles said.

She said the shelter’s large open spaces and numerous volunteers ensured animals were well cared for.

“We have big exercise yards. Every dog gets out for exercise at least once a day,” Ms Giles said.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that imposes a limit on how long shelters can keep dogs and cats before adoption.

Animal Aid general manager Nell Thompson said the restriction did nothing to improve conditions.

“It can force shelters and rescue services into having to play an adversarial role with the community and their supporter base,” Ms Thompson said.

Mordialloc Chelsea Leader, 16 Nov 2010

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More Media Coverage Mon, 15 Nov 2010 21:30:13 +0000 Mike Bailey

Dying to find a new home


VICTORIAN animal shelters and pounds want a rule abolished that requires them to destroy cats and dogs that have not been rehoused or gone into foster care within 28 days.The code of practice they operate under says “the maximum time any animal selected for sale can be held at a shelter is four weeks. [Then] it must be euthanased or permanently removed from the facility, for example, by placement in a foster program”.

Victoria is the only state that imposes an arbitrary limit on how long shelters can offer animals for adoption.

A campaign called Stop The Clock is pushing for a change.

Organiser Mike Bailey said shelters were required to keep animals for collection by their owners for eight days, then they became the property of the shelter.

“If the rule to euthanise wasn’t there, then shelters could decide for themselves what to do with the animals.

“Shelters should not be forced to kill pets they are trying to re-home.”

Trish Bourke, of the Pets Haven Shelter in Woodend, said destroying animals was

barbaric and outdated.

“I think it is disgusting that Victoria is the only state that has this policy. The clock is ticking from the day they arrive.

“What I want to emphasise is the human element. You have to think how euthanising perfectly healthy pets affects those who are forced to do it. You look into the big brown eyes of a puppy or kitten, and then inject them. It’s something that stays with you.”

State Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said the government would look at amending the legislation to allow more time for animals to be rehabilitated and rehoused.

Macedon Ranges Weekly, 16 Nov 2010

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Lort Smith Opposes Arbitrary Limit Wed, 10 Nov 2010 09:41:51 +0000 Mike Bailey

The Lort Smith Animal Hospital agrees that animals that are not re-homed before any arbitrarily set  period, that are also coping well under shelter conditions, should not have to be removed  from the shelter as a result of being at the shelter for that arbitrary period – and if they are not coping well, that is of course where having a well established foster program for them to transition to is essential and delivers enormous benefit.

It is beholden on the shelter system to ensure that there are clear parameters and guidelines in place (developed in association with veterinarians and  behaviouralists) on what behaviours are symptomatic of stress and what triggers are in place to determine when an animal needs an alternative location to continue their recovery towards re-homing.

Liz Walker

Chief Executive Officer

Lort Smith Animal Hospital

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Animal Aid Opposes Adoption Deadline Mon, 01 Nov 2010 22:14:41 +0000 Mike Bailey

Animal Aid believes that every one of our fellow creatures is entitled to be treated with respect and compassion and have its individual needs and experiences taken into account as part of their assessment, rehabilitation and ultimately adoption.

The 28 day time limit does not allow the individual to be taken into account and is an arbitrary time frame that deserves review.

Simply putting an end to life at the end of a statutory holding period does nothing to improve the outcomes for shelter animals in the wider community. It can force shelters and rescue services into having to play an adversarial role with the community and their supporter base, not to mention the emotional implications for the staff and volunteers.

Animal Aid believes that all efforts must be made to enrich the restrictive, stressful and inadequate shelter environment. The welfare and rehabilitation of the individual concerned must always be a priority, no matter how long the animal concerned is held.

Nell Thompson

General Manager

Victorian Animal Aid Trust (Animal Aid)

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Pets Haven Wants End to Deadline Fri, 29 Oct 2010 09:02:25 +0000 Mike Bailey

For many years now healthy animals have been killed in pounds and shelters. The 28 day rule is enforced and all pounds/shelters must comply. Not only are healthy animals being killed for an unnecessary reason but this ruling has placed emotional stress on the people who work within these pounds and shelters.

It has been proven in every other state than Victoria and across the world, animals do cope, loving homes are found and many animals for various reasons require a longer period than others in finding homes. Pets Haven encourages our Government to move forward, ensure our animals are given the time they need to find a home; we can’t make up for the past killings of healthy animals and the stress that this has caused many people who work within the field, but we can make changes and we need to make them now.

Trish Bourke

Pets Haven Animal Shelter

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RSPCA Rejects Deadline for Animals Thu, 28 Oct 2010 02:30:50 +0000 Mike Bailey

The RSPCA believes that holding periods for animals within shelters and pounds should not be restricted to arbitrary time frames. We have tirelessly lobbied the Victorian State Government to move away from the 28-day holding period and in late October, we were delighted with the announcement that the Labour government would extend holding periods for pounds and shelters if re-elected.  We commend Labor on their planned animal welfare initiatives, including their active review of the 28-day holding period and their promise to strengthen the foster care arrangements to improve welfare outcomes.   These changes to legislation will have a significant impact on rehabilitation and re-homing rates at RSPCA shelters, allowing us to provide extensive medical treatment or behavioural training for as long as needed.  This would also allow our expert behaviourists and veterinarians to evaluate an animal’s welfare on a case-by-case basis, always ensuring welfare is never compromised.

Such a change to legislation would give RSPCA animals the best chance of being re-homed and would be a win for animals in Victoria.

Maria Mercurio


RSPCA Victoria

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Cat Protection Society Lends Support Wed, 27 Oct 2010 12:09:15 +0000 Mike Bailey

The CPS supports a change to the Code regarding the 28 day rule. CPS has been actively involved in the writing group established by the Government which is currently reviewing the Code and we have lobbied strongly for no specific time frame but rather periodic health and temperament reviews to ensure the welfare of the animal is safeguarded and the rehabilitation/medical treatment plans are effective and the animal is progressing towards being rehomed. This is to ensure pounds and shelters allocate adequate resources to such programs and safeguards against a hoarding situation developing.

Socialised cats generally adapt far more readily to confinement than dogs and their temperament improves rather than deteriorates with time if appropriate handling, enrichment and housing is provided – 28 days is not the defining time to make a decision on this and we therefore support change.

Carole Webb
Executive Director

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AWL Queensland Supports StopTheClock Wed, 27 Oct 2010 03:18:03 +0000 Mike Bailey

Many animals need longer than this to find a home and can be well cared for and provided enrichment and socialisation until this occurs.

Instead it needs to be a requirement that pounds and shelters have appropriate housing and staffing to provide for the needs of abandoned animals, and use good marketing strategies for all unclaimed strays and surrendered animals, and more efforts if an animal is taking longer than a few months to find a home, which can be done through Pet of the Week programs, advertisements and special news stories.

Joy Verrinder BA Dip T MBA MA (Professional Ethics & Gov)

Strategic Development Officer
Animal Welfare League of Qld

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