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Council legally disposed of dogs

Regional Campaign Manager for Animal Liberation, Lisa Ryan, said she is disappointed but not surprised, at the outcome of the investigation. Lisa is pictured with Ziggi. Photo supplied

The RSPCA has found the Bourke Shire Council acted legally in shooting 15 dogs at the Bourke pound last month. Ten of the animals were puppies.

The peak animal welfare agency deemed that council did not break any animal cruelty laws when it euthanized the impounded dogs last month.

The decision to dispose of the dogs prevented animal rescue volunteers from Cobar travelling to Bourke to pick up the animals.

The RSPCA has not revealed how it came to that decision, nor has it, or the Office of Local Government, provided any details about its investigation.

The decision has angered animal welfare organisations, with calls for the laws regarding animal cruelty to be overhauled.

Regional Campaign Manager for Animal Liberation, Lisa Ryan, said she was very disappointed, but not surprised, at the outcome of the RSPCA’s investigation.

“Shooting homeless dogs and puppies is legal, and until the laws are changed this will continue,” she said.

“Reminding councils of their statutory obligations will make no difference because animal protection laws are couched in terms like ‘reasonable’ and ‘practicable’.”

On Monday, Ms Ryan addressed Bourke Shire Council meeting remotely, asking councillors to engage in new paths in saving lives, and living up to the ‘overwhelming broad expectations of the community regarding animal welfare’.

“I asked that council consider five requests,” Ms Ryan said.

“Stop shooting impounded animals, actively engage with rescue and re-homing organisations, engage and collaborate with us on new paths to compliance and effective life-saving initiatives for all impounded animals, and engage with RSPCA NSW on its rural dogs’ program.

Ms Ryan said she would continue to address council at future meetings until the management of impounded animals was improved and dogs and cats were not routinely destroyed.

Bourke Shire Council General Manager, Mark Riley, said that as per council’s code of meeting practise, public forums are not held as part of a meeting which are reserved for decision making.

“Council has listened and will make a decision accordingly.”

An RSPCA spokesperson said no action could be taken because there had been no breaches of the animal welfare legislation.

The organisation released a statement saying RSPCA NSW was an enforcement agency for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

“This allows us to take enforcement action where there are breaches of legislation,” the spokesperson said.

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