Ten puppies were among 15 dogs shot dead by a rural NSW council as part of itsresponse to stop the spread of COVID-19 in an incident now being investigatedby the RSPCA.
Bourke Shire Council, in the state’s north-west, said its pound’s holding penswere at capacity, two dogs were aggressive towards staff and one another, andthe regular rehomer was twice unavailable before it made the decision todestroy the dogs last week.
The response followed widespread outrage at the news the animals had been shotto comply with COVID-19 restrictions, after the Office of Local Governmentsaid the decision had been made to prevent volunteers at a Cobar-based animalshelter from travelling to pick up the animals.
In a statement, the council said the relevant staff had animal welfarecertificates, that the organisation had unsuccessfully tried other actions,and the dogs had been in the pound well past the time required under theCompanion Animal Act.
“And coupled with council seeking to stop people from other communitiesentering Bourke given the level of vulnerability in the community … thedecision was made to euthanise the dogs,” the statement said, adding it was adifficult time for communities, especially those in the far west, like Bourke.
“The town is in a tenuous situation at the moment with COVID. Positive casesare on the increase. Council is being very careful with people enteringBourke. The majority of council staff have been stood down to avoid the virusspreading further in the community.”
NSW Health data recorded up to 8pm on Sunday shows there are seven COVID-19cases in Bourke, three of which have an unknown source.
The council did not respond to questions asking why shooting was the method ofeuthanasia it undertook.
In a statement, RSPCA NSW said the animal welfare agency was investigating.
_Image: Bourke Shire Council said staff had animal welfare certificates andthe organisation had unsuccessfully tried other actions before the dogs wereshot dead. _
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