Create a procedure for the handling of suspected restricted dogs in your facility.
This petition made change with 2,456 supporters!
On the 13th June 2014, a loved family dog named 'Ruby' (pictured) was surrendered to the Wollondilly Animal Shelter, just south of Sydney.
24 hours later, she was dead.
Despite the offer of assistance from welfare and advocacy organisation Team Dog, to allow her every opportunity for rehoming - the council killed Ruby after arbitrarily deciding that she was a 'pit bull cross'. Ruby was rehomed from Renbury Farm Animal Shelter only 12 months prior, was microchipped as an American Staffy X, and the surrender form completed by her owner described a friendly, outgoing dog that socialised happily with adults, children, other dogs and even cats and livestock - a dog that had never shown any aggression and that loved to play games.
The Manager of Compliance, Robyn Cooper, has ignored emails from Team Dog asking for further information as to the council's handling of such dogs - prompting a GIPA application, and has also ignored recent emails attempting to assist the council in improving their procedures for impounded dogs like Ruby. We can only assume that such blatant refusal to engage indicates that they will continue to kill dogs without exhausting all avenues for rehoming. (Read the full story as to Ruby and this council's conduct here )
Council had a legal alternative in the form of seeking a Breed Assessment of Ruby (and Temperament Assessment if needed), and even the offer of payment of these assessments by Team Dog, but chose to kill Ruby anyway. These assessments are carried out on an as-needs basis by major Sydney impounding facilities such as Renbury Farm Animal Shelter, Sutherland Shire Animal Shelter, Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter and Blacktown Animal Holding Facility. Why won't Wollondilly do the same?
Due to the council's refusal to even discuss any improvement on this matter, our only option has been to create a public campaign to show that the council's actions are severely out of sync with the expectations of the community.
We, the public, insist the following be carried out by Wollondilly Council as a matter of priority, so that no more dogs meet the inhumane and callous fate that Ruby did:
1. The council MUST implement a formal procedure outlining how dogs that are suspected of being 'restricted' must be handled when entering the facility as strays or surrenders.
2. This procedure MUST NOT allow automatic euthanasia of the dog.
3. Instead, if an authorised officer suspects a dog to be a 'restricted dog', they must issue a Notice of Intention to declare the dog to be restricted once the dog is owned by council, and organise for the dog to be breed assessed (and temperament assessed if needed) while impounded.
4. If the dog passes a breed assessment, or is assessed as a 'Pit Bull X' and subsequently passes a temperament test, the dog must be placed for adoption and treated as per any other dog listed for adoption in the shelter.
5. The dog must ONLY be euthanised without being placed for adoption if it is assessed as a pure bred American Pit Bull Terrier or it fails both a breed AND temperament assessment, and is legally declared a restricted dog (and therefore under current legislation cannot be rehomed).
6. Conduct of council employees, in particular the Manager of Compliance Robyn Cooper, must be investigated to ensure that legitimate community concerns regarding the animal shelter are responded to in the future, not ignored.
Our campaign isn't a witch hunt to have one person sacked - what is needed is for formal procedures to be put in place at a higher level to ensure that no matter who is working in what role at the council, now or many years in the future, dogs like Ruby are given a chance.
The petition will be closed once Council has created and made public the procedure as described above, bringing them in line with all major Sydney impounding facilities.
We strongly encourage you to also contact the General Manager, Luke Johnson and Councillors directly via email to express your dissatisfaction and request the above 6 points be implemented. This is especially important if you are a resident in the Wollondilly Shire Council - ensure your voice is heard directly via phone or email!
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