Stop The Clock is a Campaign to Remove Victoria’s 28 Day Deadline for Shelters to Rehome Animals

UPDATE 30 June 2011: We won!!! The Hon. Peter Walsh today issued a media release announcing that the 28 Day Rule has finally ended. All new restrictions on foster care that we objected to have been removed! This is a bright day for companion animal welfare in Victoria.

UPDATE 10 April 2011: The Hon. Peter Walsh today issued a media release announcing that the 28 Day Rule would be removed. Unfortunately the draft Code has introduced a number of draconian new restrictions that include unfair restrictions on foster care. The draft is open for public consultation till 29 Apr 2011.

UPDATE 1 March 2011Some encouraging news, we’ve been notified by the Victorian Bureau of Animal Welfare that the Minister has been presented with a new draft of the Code of Practice with the 28 Day Rule removed. We’re now waiting to see what the Minister will do with it.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that enforces an arbitrary deadline on pounds and shelters looking to find new homes for dogs and cats. The following item in the Code results in the unnecessary killing of healthy adoptable cats and dogs for no reason other than to comply with the Code:

“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 euthanased or permanently removed from the facility, for example, by placement in a foster program.”

Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds 2.3.7

An arbitrary deadline doesn’t take into account the circumstances of individual animals. It ignores the fact that modern shelter practices include volunteers exercising the dogs and providing mental stimulation with shelter enrichment.

No such limit is imposed on any other domestic animal business:

  • service dogs for the blind spend six months or more in kennel facilities during training
  • boarding facilities do not have a time limit imposed by their code of practice
  • breeding facilities have no time limit imposed on how long animals can be kept
  • pet shops do not have a time limit imposed

Shelter managers are responsible for the welfare of animals in their care. Suggestions that they would resort to ‘institutionalised hoarding’ and ‘permanent incarceration’ of animals are ludicrous. There is no evidence from other states that such worst case scenarios would eventuate. Even if it did, action could be taken based on failure to protect the welfare of the animals.

Join in our calls to have this unfair deadline abolished.


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