Animal Shelters Slam Death Row Rule

Embargo: 12:01am (AEST) Fri Nov 5, 2010  (download media release)

Animal Shelters Slam Death Row Rule

Victoria’s animal shelters are calling for an end to a rule requiring them to kill cats and dogs that haven’t found a home within 28 days.

Victoria is the only Australian state or territory to impose an arbitrary limit on how long shelters can offer animals for adoption.

“Shelters should not be forced to kill pets they are trying to rehome.

“Modern shelter practices include exercise and mental stimulation while animals wait for their second chance,” founder Mike Bailey said.

Victoria’s Domestic Animals Act 1994 gives the Minister, Joe Helper, the power to make Codes of Practice any kind of domestic animal business.

The Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds specifies that “The maximum time any animal selected for sale can be held at a shelter is four weeks”

The Codes for boarding facilities and breeding facilities do not limit the time animals can be held.

A new online campaign,, calling for this restriction to be abolished has been endorsed by Melbourne’s animal shelters and contains statements from:

The website has published statements of support from Victorian shelter leadership including:

  • Animal Aid
  • Cat Protection Society of Victoria
  • Lost Dogs Home
  • Pets Haven
  • RSPCA Victoria

The campaign’s Facebook group has had over 2500 individuals join in it’s first week.

Nell Thompson, general manager at Animal Aid, said “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.”

Media enquiries: Mike Bailey, Campaign Organiser, 0415 625 915

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