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Powerlegs

Wagga Pound Cruelty - Not For Easily Upset

67 posts in this topic

According to the volunteers, there were bloody claw marks in the freezer which is why they thought that cat may have been alive too.

Were there any pictures of this cat? did the volunteers see any injuries on the cat?

It's in the original link in post 1, scroll down and you will find the un-blurred version.

details click 'show'

Young tabby kitten is stuck in the corner of the freezer, eyes open, foamy frozen blood, and visible claw marks in the frost on the right. Blood marks too far away for a dead kitten to get on the sides.

I don't care how they explain it or if they claim the cat was dead (because they were so certain the black one was dead). It's disgusting and inhuman. You check and you bag and treat the body with some kind of respect. If they are dedicated to changing, from hereon out it should be done by a vet.

If a council employee is injured on the job they need to lodge an incident report and assuming it was as bad as they claim; the ranger would have needed antibiotics and a tetanus shot if necessary. Where is it if the black cat bit so badly it was flung around?

Maree I wholly respect you as a rescuer and understand that you have a long standing relationship with Wagga. I understand that you believe the rangers you work with could not possibly do this. So even if the accusations aren't true; council has finally publicly acknowledged past mistakes and a commitment to change after media scrutiny so it can only be a good thing for staff, rescuers, adopters and the community.

Edited by Powerlegs

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A different take on things from a different Councillor, which I would call a legitimate first hand statement about what's going on internally. My link

Public scrutiny over alleged animal abuse at the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter continues to dog council.

The fallout from the claims has escalated – from flyers displaying the distressing image of a frozen cat being distributed to letter boxes around Wagga to a councillor calling for heads to roll.

The number of supporters on the online petition at change.org has ballooned to more than 37,000 and is continuing to rise.

The petition was started by three former volunteers who worked at the facility until the council suspended the volunteer program in July last year.

Volunteers were offered a chance to return after a review concluded in September.

A Facebook page has been created inviting concerned members of the public to join a demonstration at the next council meeting on Monday, May 30. The page states organisers plan the protest to be a “civilised but vocal demonstration”.

“It's about putting pressure on those who inadequately run this city,” organisers said.

Outspoken Councillor Paul Funnell said he has been trying to hold council to account for years.

“I attended a meeting with the former general manager, the planning director at the time, and volunteers from the shelter close to a year ago,” Cr Funnell said.

“The volunteers said they felt intimidated by staff.”

Cr Funnell was told at the meeting an external review would be conducted, engaging the RSPCA.

“I chased it up a few months later and was told the review was an internal one and the RSPCA would look into it – which is not what I was told (in the initial meeting),” Cr Funnell said.

“The mayor and former general manager told me it was an operational affair and to not interfere with the process.”

Self confessed avid animal lover and concerned resident Kylie Yerbury said a negative culture had been bred into the animal shelter.

“It’s been a running joke around town that if your pet ended up there … you’re not going to get it back,” Ms Yerbury said.

“There needs to be checks in place to ensure animal welfare.”

Ms Yerbury added other animal shelters seemed to get the balance right.

Cr Funnell expressed his frustration at having his hands tied.

“This is why I’m outspoken. I’m fed up with the pathetic attitudes of ‘let the process take place’,” Cr Funnell said.

“A review is taking place but don’t stop there – make people justify their existence.

“Staff members should be sacked – I was told it’s not that easy.

“This council is dandruff on the shoulders of progress.”

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I know I am going Off topic but more of this would help solve the problem of stray cats and unwanted kittens in our pounds.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-08/young-canberra-citizen-of-the-year-award-winners-announced/7312550

Fixing the problem of stray cats

Alexandra Craig was named Canberra's Young Environmentalist of the Year for her work with her charity Canberra Cat Fix.

It raises money to subsidise desexing procedures for cat owners who could not afford the vet fees.

Ms Craig said she had worked in animal rescue organisations for some time and was seeking to do more to reduce the number of stray cats and those in shelters.

"I wanted to do something to fix the problem, and fostering and donating litter and food didn't seem like enough," she said.

"I thought we need to fix this problem — we need to encourage people to desex their cats."

She said some estimates put the number of stray cats in the ACT at around 20,000 but every cat desexed would help reduce that number.

"So far we've done about 200 cats in a year," she said.

"We're pretty happy with that."

These programs are excellent but they'll never solve the issue of kittens in pounds unless they are targeted towards unowned cats as well (i.e, a well resourced trap/neuter/return program). A good percentage of the kittens in pounds come from unowned or semi owned mums.

Targeting owned cats with desexing programs will do very little to change that situation. The evidence out there shows that the vast majority (95%+) of owned cats are desexed. The issue there is that they aren't desexed early enough. Most vets are still touting 6 months old as the ideal time for desexing however they can already be pregnant by that age. That means a lot of cats are having litters prior to being desexed. Changing the attitude of the vets and the narrative in the cat-owning public of desex age needs to be a priority.

ETA: I wouldn't be surprised if even the vets performing these very surgeries for this desex program would be recommending the cats come in 'from six months old'. You see it constantly - low cost/free surgeries but still with vets who can't/won't educate themselves on the importance desexing cats prior to 4 months old (unlike dogs, studies have not found any negative effects of this for cats). People trust their vets and do what they're told and voila - cat has a litter or two before it is eventually done.

Hi all

Thanks for taking an interest in my program - apologies for coming in a few days late, I was only just alerted to this discussion.

In Canberra, desexing averages out at around $350 and a lot of people can't afford this. A lot of people also don't realise how high the cost is here, because in places like Sydney and other parts of NSW it can be significantly cheaper. Even on a personal level, when I got my first cat a few years ago I had her desexed at the RSPCA vet clinic and it was $275. The area I lived in before Canberra had desexing priced at around $130. I was lucky because I had a well paying job and I could afford it, however there are so many people in our community that just don't have that kind of money. I was volunteering with some local rescue groups prior to starting Canberra Cat Fix and the majority of the kittens they took in were from people who didn't desex their pets, and even a lot of 'free' kittens from online giveaway pages end up at rescue group. Our pound in Canberra doesn't accept kittens, but nearby Queanbeyan Pound does and they have a pretty low kill rate. We do have a big problem with stray cats here, however TNR is pretty well illegal. I am trying to lobby the local government to allow a trial (basically so we can legally prove that TNR works) but until then we can't do a lot. There is also only one vet in the ACT that will work with feral cats (presumably because of the law) so that also makes things a bit tricky.

All the vets that participate in Canberra Cat Fix will perform early age desexing. It's actually law in the ACT that all cats are desexed by 12 weeks of age, however there are still a couple of vets that won't do it until 6 months (and we don't work with them). This is hugely frustrating for us, because as you said, people do trust their vet but before you know it the cat is already pregnant before 6 months of age. I also personally think given that desexing is mandatory by 12 weeks the onus of that should fall on vet clinics too - why should they be allowed to blatantly disobey the law and thus cause who knows how many cats to have unneccessary litters.

Thanks again for taking an interest - hopefully my response has clarified a few things :)

Alex

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Maree I wholly respect you as a rescuer and understand that you have a long standing relationship with Wagga. I understand that you believe the rangers you work with could not possibly do this. So even if the accusations aren't true; council has finally publicly acknowledged past mistakes and a commitment to change after media scrutiny so it can only be a good thing for staff, rescuers, adopters and the community.

Thanks Powerlegs I know the rangers I deal with were not a part of any of the instances that happened with the cats as those rangers are no longer working there and haven't been for well over 12 months, as disgusting as the evidence presented I take on board what the volunteers have said and I am not saying it is not true but we have to move on and believe that the council will change things I truly believe it will improve I have faith in them as they cannot afford for it to happen again.

I also know that many volunteers have gone into some pounds in NSW and demanded change and told the rangers/Council what they needed to do and demand it be done, well that is not the way to change anything as we know, this is why some have been banned and I think they should be.

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Jan Spate in Hall desexes males for $50, before anyone gets on their high horse she has permission from the Vet Board.

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simone07   

My name is Simone Lieschke, I am one of the former volunteers who went to media regarding the issues at Wagga Pound. I have read this thread and just wanted to clarify some things.

Please have a look at our recently released response to Council’s Open Letter here: https://www.change.org/p/wagga-wagga-city-council-saviour-s-petition-improve-animal-welfare-at-wagga-wagga-pound-g-r-a-s/u/16651433

The volunteer program was suspended in May 2015, to allow Council to update the program, especially OHS issues. Myself, Myriam and Belinda were all supportive of this update. All volunteers were asked to reapply for their positions. We chose not to, as at the time we were corresponding with Council regarding animal welfare concerns.

We have been in discussion with Council since March 2015. We were hoping to resolve these issues with Council, however after approximately 12 months of meetings and many emails/phone conversations, we found very little had changed, and in early 2016 Council stopped corresponding, even though the issues still needed to be addressed.

We tried very hard to resolve these issues cooperatively with Council. We felt we had no option but to bring this to media’s attention, as the animals were still suffering, even after a year of correspondence. Issues have been raised with Council from various people since 2011, yet these same issues are still occurring in 2016.

Most of the rangers have been employed there for a number of years. The ranger that knocked out Saviour the kitten was still working at GRAS as recently as April 2016. Please see this article: http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/3835444/ranger-in-frozen-cat-scandal-still-working/

As volunteers work only during public viewing hours, there should be no confidentiality agreement needed. In relation to animal cruelty, all people should be encouraged to speak out. As long-term volunteers (from 2-5 years, volunteering up to 9 hours per week) we took upon many tasks (such as cleaning, feeding, walking dogs, hosing, washing, etc) to help the rangers, and brought in supplies for the animals, such as beds, bedding, dog coats, puppy and kitten food. We were more than happy to do anything the rangers asked of us, such as show people around, move animals from the deposit pens, bring animals to the office, etc. I offered a number of times to help the rangers take photos of the animals and upload them on to the Council website (this was rejected by the rangers). We all really enjoyed volunteering there.

Sadly, it was only due to media that changes have started to occur, and we are hoping they will continue, but there is still a lot of improvements needed. Even in the last few weeks, we have seen the same issues still occurring, such as the Council website not being kept up to date with photos/info of impounded animals, animals without water, mishandling of animals, an emaciated puppy not being provided with extra care or treated appropriately, rangers speaking inappropriately to members of the public, etc.

Our knowledge comes from working at GRAS on a very regular basis. The concerns we have raised come from our own first-hand observations while volunteering over the years. The Sun Herald article was based on documented evidence.

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My name is Simone Lieschke, I am one of the former volunteers who went to media regarding the issues at Wagga Pound. I have read this thread and just wanted to clarify some things.

Please have a look at our recently released response to Council’s Open Letter here: https://www.change.org/p/wagga-wagga-city-council-saviour-s-petition-improve-animal-welfare-at-wagga-wagga-pound-g-r-a-s/u/16651433

The volunteer program was suspended in May 2015, to allow Council to update the program, especially OHS issues. Myself, Myriam and Belinda were all supportive of this update. All volunteers were asked to reapply for their positions. We chose not to, as at the time we were corresponding with Council regarding animal welfare concerns.

We have been in discussion with Council since March 2015. We were hoping to resolve these issues with Council, however after approximately 12 months of meetings and many emails/phone conversations, we found very little had changed, and in early 2016 Council stopped corresponding, even though the issues still needed to be addressed.

We tried very hard to resolve these issues cooperatively with Council. We felt we had no option but to bring this to media’s attention, as the animals were still suffering, even after a year of correspondence. Issues have been raised with Council from various people since 2011, yet these same issues are still occurring in 2016.

Most of the rangers have been employed there for a number of years. The ranger that knocked out Saviour the kitten was still working at GRAS as recently as April 2016. Please see this article: http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/3835444/ranger-in-frozen-cat-scandal-still-working/

As volunteers work only during public viewing hours, there should be no confidentiality agreement needed. In relation to animal cruelty, all people should be encouraged to speak out. As long-term volunteers (from 2-5 years, volunteering up to 9 hours per week) we took upon many tasks (such as cleaning, feeding, walking dogs, hosing, washing, etc) to help the rangers, and brought in supplies for the animals, such as beds, bedding, dog coats, puppy and kitten food. We were more than happy to do anything the rangers asked of us, such as show people around, move animals from the deposit pens, bring animals to the office, etc. I offered a number of times to help the rangers take photos of the animals and upload them on to the Council website (this was rejected by the rangers). We all really enjoyed volunteering there.

Sadly, it was only due to media that changes have started to occur, and we are hoping they will continue, but there is still a lot of improvements needed. Even in the last few weeks, we have seen the same issues still occurring, such as the Council website not being kept up to date with photos/info of impounded animals, animals without water, mishandling of animals, an emaciated puppy not being provided with extra care or treated appropriately, rangers speaking inappropriately to members of the public, etc.

Our knowledge comes from working at GRAS on a very regular basis. The concerns we have raised come from our own first-hand observations while volunteering over the years. The Sun Herald article was based on documented evidence.

Thanks for all your hard work Simone. This stuff is harrowing and you worked hard to try and resolve it with the council directly for some time. The media is the next step and it's the only thing that has started to see change. Still a long way to go I'm sure but you've started it moving.

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