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RSPCA investigates fate of dogs at Bourke pound

Dogs in a pound. Photo supplied

The RSPCA has confirmed that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 15 dogs at the Bourke pound in August.

In a statement issued on Monday, the animal welfare body said that “the RSPCA NSW is investigating the euthanasia of a number of dogs in the north-west of NSW.”

“This is under investigation for any possible offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. As it is an active investigation, privacy and legal considerations do not allow us to provide further information,” the statement said.

A spokesperson for the Office of Local Government said that the government was aware that RSPCA NSW is investigating the incident.

“The Office of Local Government issued detailed guidance to all NSW councils on July 30, to assist in the operation of pounds during the COVID-19 outbreak”.

“NSW councils have statutory obligations under the Companion Animals Act for the welfare of animals in their care, and councils are encouraged to continue to work with re-homing organisations and volunteers to care for animals, where that can be undertaken consistent with NSW Health advice,” the OLG spokesperson said.

The Western Herald understands that 15 dogs were shot when council could not organise the collection of the dogs from a rescue organisation in Cobar, citing COVID restrictions and animal welfare concerns for the dogs in the pound.

But the rescue organisation has rejected those claims, saying they offered alternative arrangements to enable five of the dogs to be re-homed.

Regional Campaigns Manager for Animal Liberation, Lisa Ryan, said she had also spoken to the Rural Outback Animal Respite (ROAR) rescue group. She said that Animal Liberation was also investigating if council had breached animal welfare laws.

Based in Cobar, ROAR collects animals from the Bourke pound.

Last week, the organisation released a statement after reports council could not organise anyone from the group to safely collect the dogs.

“Initially, we did not want to comment on this matter, as we did not want to jeopardise the working relationship we have with Bourke Council, the statement said.

“However, since we’ve been receiving threats from people who have misunderstood the situation, we’ve been forced to speak out.

“People have been contacting ROAR with threats and accusations, as they assumed that ROAR had been responsible for killing these dogs. ROAR will not kill any animal.

“We are an animal rescue service, working with six surrounding pounds to ensure that once the animals have served their time in the pounds, they can come to us in Cobar, where we look after them until we can get them out to bigger rescues.

“We were asked on Monday August 16 if we could collect the five dogs. Unfortunately, we were full at the time and did not have room, but as we had transport on Tuesday, we would make room.

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