AVA represented at the NSW parliamentary inquiry into pounds in New South Wales

17 Nov 2023

(Image: Dr Zach Lederhose, President AVA NSW Division and Dr Anne Quain, AVA NSW Division Committee member)


Dr Zach Lederhose, President of the AVA NSW Division and Dr Anne Quain, a member of the AVA NSW Division Committee represented the AVA at the NSW parliamentary inquiry into pounds in New South Wales

They discussed the AVA submission which talked to the fact that veterinary practices are often the first point of contact for people who find stray dogs, cats, or unwanted litters, and there are significant issues in management of these animals particularly where councils are not collaborating well with veterinary practices. Evidence collected by the NSW AVA Division on strays and veterinary practices' engagement with NSW councils/pounds was presented which highlights:

  • Veterinary practices often bear the cost of housing and treating strays before council collection, sometimes for extended periods.
  • Some councils refuse to collect strays, especially cats, shifting the burden to vets.
  • Practices struggle to contact councils after hours or during holidays, resulting in prolonged housing of strays.
  • Councils sometimes take days to collect strays, potentially breaching the Companion Animals Act 1998.
  • Practices are advised by some councils to release strays, contrary to animal welfare and the NSW Veterinary Oath.
  • Public backlash against practices that refer strays to councils can negatively impact business viability and staff mental health.

Other aspects of the AVA submission were also discussed, that is the design of pound facilities, maintenance procedures, capture methods, animal transport, rehoming practices, and the role of veterinarians.

The AVA is calling on the NSW Government to develop a consistent state-wide policy for local government and veterinary practice interactions in stray dog and cat management, as well as  standardisation of management and legislative controls for animal shelters and council pounds, investigation of strategies to keep animals with their owners and acknowledgment that euthanasia may be necessary for animals unsuitable for re-homing.