SJ pound plans put on hold

SJ pound plans put on hold

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The current pound is little more than a holding pen for livestock and four bare cages with a carport roof.

The pursuit for a permanent and proper place to impound escapee pups has been put on pause again.

Officers at the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale have been sent back to the drawing board after the state government nixed their idea to house the new DFES Emergency Training Academy on council-owned land at Mardella.

When DFES Minister Stephen Dawson struck Lot 500 Lampiter Drive off the government’s list of sites for consideration, he also inadvertently thwarted plans to co-locate a new purpose-built and appropriate animal management facility at the same location.

The current pound on Watkins Rd has attracted years of criticism from the community; four bare, metal boxes with a carport-style corrugated roof supplied as an afterthought to provide an iota of shade to the animals housed within.

Impounded dogs have had no choice but to swelter through the state’s record-breaking heatwave with no respite from the heat.

There’s no sewerage or electricity, so installing long-term security cameras is futile. And the floors don’t have proper drainage, making it difficult to clean them between dogs.

And cats are currently placed in emergency holding crates in close proximity to distressed, barking dogs.

In January 2022 the council was forced to apologise to one local resident after covering up the death of his dog at the facility– an incident which was later investigated and found to be most likely attributable to a damaged cage door.

Ironically, what serves as a pound is currently an improvement on what stood in its place before an ‘upgrade’ in 2017.

Fury over the state of the pound escalated online again recently after a resident saw a dog’s paws sticking out from the ‘animal prison’ on one of the hottest days experienced in Perth so far this year.

“To the shire, it’s time we had a decent, humane, air-conditioned pound. Stop spending money on beautifying the place and give the shire a reputation of being kind to all creatures great and small. Join me and shame the shire, if you agree,” Gail Hill said.

Many locals implored the incident be reported to the RSPCA for animal cruelty.

Council officers duly acknowledge the animal management facility as being ‘substandard’ for the ‘sympathetic wellbeing’ of the animals impounded there, sometimes for up to ‘three weeks’ while ‘awaiting rehoming’.

“Impounding of cats is currently a concerning issue. In the past, local vets were being used to impound cats for the required holding time and then rehomed from the vet or picked up by the officer and taken to Cat Haven, Animal Protection Society or similar for rehoming. Due to the increased number of cats, local vets have run out of capacity to assist regularly with impounding cats,” shire officers wrote in their report to council.

Local resident Lee Bond has followed the issue for many years and took councillors to task at Monday’s council meeting for their failure to find a solution to the problem over the past decade.

“Has any councillor made any serious attempt to bring this to council, or to close this site down, since 2015?” she asked during public question time.

A motion was brought to council on Monday to “request the Chief Executive Officer to present a business case” during the upcoming financial year in order to hire a consultant to see if upgrading the current facility was possible, or even worthwhile.

Councillor Tricia Duggin moved an amendment which added two more tasks for the consultant: to look into options of using locally available private kennels; or to look into using neighbouring councils’ pound facilities in the meantime while a more permanent solution was found.

That motion was passed unanimously.