Campbelltown pound 'unsuitable'

'Unsuitable': Some dogs at Campbelltown's Animal Care Facility can become easily stressed because of the way their kennels are configured. Picture Kylie Pitt.
'Unsuitable': Some dogs at Campbelltown's Animal Care Facility can become easily stressed because of the way their kennels are configured. Picture Kylie Pitt.

Parts of Campbelltown’s Animal Care Facility are ‘‘unsuitable and should be demolished’’ according to an independent audit.

The council commissioned two reports to help decide the Rose Street facility’s future, after councillors rejected outright a recommendation to outsource the pound to Taren Point in August.

The pound first came under fire from animal welfare and rescue groups in 2013 for its high kill and low desexing rates.

Animal welfare facility consultants Therian Animal Care Solutions and Animal Shelter Planning Australia (ASPA) both concluded that the current pound does not meet industry standards.

‘‘There is currently a strong need to upgrade the shelter in order to comply with current Animal Housing Standards, to control disease and increase shelter capacity to reduce the number of animals being euthanized each year,’’ the ASPA report states.

The shelter is made up of a three-year-old administration building, and five rows of 60 dog kennels — all of which are more than 30-years-old.

Both reports found the floor, walls and partition surfaces of the kennels do not comply with animal housing standards.

"I put the blame on the 15 elected councillors from this council and previous councils for allowing the [facility] to fall below acceptable animal welfare standards."

Deputy Mayor Ted Rowell

Current guidelines state the kennels should be kept between 15 and 30 degrees celsius but the Campbelltown facility does not have air conditioning, which ASPA recommends to reduce the spread of infection and disease.

Some of the kennels get little sunlight or ventilation, and their configuration means dogs face each other, which can increase the animals' stress levels.

The small cattery currently has space for 14 mobile cages, but their failure to meet size and capacity requirements render them inadequate.

A council report, tabled at Tuesday night’s Planning and Environment Committee meeting, listed three options for the facility:

■ Refurbish the existing facility at an estimated cost of $3.5 million;

■ Construct a new facility on the premises, keeping the administration building, costing around $5 million;

■ Relocate to a purpose-built facility, at a cost of about $5.5 million.

Liberal Deputy Mayor Ted Rowell asked the five other councillors at the committee meeting to support the refurbishment option, with work to begin on the ‘‘urgent areas’’ in March or April 2015.

‘‘Our animal care facility needs urgent attention on it and I can see no reason why we need to delay it,’’ Cr Rowell said.

‘‘In a lot of areas our [facility] is way below standard, I think when it comes to the welfare of our animals we can’t keep putting it on the backburner.’’

He was supported by fellow Liberal Alana Matheson but independent councillor Darcy Lound, Mayor Paul Lake and Labor councillors Rudi Kolkman and Meg Oates all voted against the amendment.

Campbelltown's Animal Care Facility

Cr Kolkman said he wanted ‘‘a little bit more research done’’ on the options before committing to opening the project to tenders.

‘‘That land is reported to be worth $2 million as it stands, as it is presently zoned, but if we were to rezone for commercial or business use it would be worth considerably more, about $3.5 million,’’ Cr Kolkman said.

‘‘We’ve got land at Eagle Vale and acres and acres at Menangle — there are other options that we could be looking at.’’

Cr Kolkman said the bulky goods-zoned Blaxland Road had almost been built out by businesses and the only option for them in the future would be to move to the east or west of the road.

‘‘Our pound site might be so valuable, which means we can’t stay there and stifle businesses,’’ he said.

‘‘What I don’t want to see is millions of dollars spent today and then in 10 to 15 years’ time we lose that.’’

Cr Kolkman said he would prefer a purpose-built facility that would meet industry standards.

Cr Rowell said he did not blame staff at the animal care facility for its poor results, saying they "work hard without the proper resources".

"I put the blame on the 15 elected councillors from this council and previous councils for allowing the [facility] to fall below acceptable animal welfare standards," Cr Rowell said.

The report will go before a full council meeting on Tuesday, November 11.

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