By NOEL MURPHY
GEELONG Animal Welfare Society needs to take pet claims by the public more seriously, City Hall’s Kylie Fisher said yesterday.
But pet owners also need to register and microchip their animals if they expect quick resolution when they try to claim their lost pets, she said.
City Hall is presently reviewing its financial support of GAWS and investigating claims of pets not being returned to their rightful owners, following Independent reports and successive annual losses totalling almost $750,000 by the animal welfare group.
“Council is definitely investigating some of these accusations, the city’s financial support is definitely being reviewed at same time,” Cr Fisher said.
“I can imagine people being very anxious. Pets are a big part of people’s lives and families. They grow very attached to them, they’re our loved ones.
“This is why I can say with my hand on my heart that people need to microchip and register all pets — dog and cats.”
Cr Fisher’s comments follow several allegations of unregistered pets not being returned to their purported owners by GAWS.
In one case, a man claimed his family surrendered a dog he left with them while he was recovering from an operation. He claimed the dog’s microchip was changed without his knowledge and is pursuing legal avenues for the animal’s return.
Another claim involves an unregistered cat a woman argued she had photographic evidence to prove her ownership.
A third case, which unfolded this week, involves a pure-bred dog with a question mark over microchipping and ownership.
Cr Fisher said she had asked city staff to look into claims lodged on social media and urged the public to go direct to City Hall to address problems.
“There are people in council dealing with these matters,” she said.
“It’s very emotional for people but pet owners need to register and microchip their animals if they expect easy resolution when they try to claim their lost pets.”
GAWS has said it is working with the council to resolve the disputes. It is also looking to an intermediary process to better manage disputes.
GAWS has been subject in recent years to wholesale management changes after a bitter aned hostile public campaign by the No Kill lobby which saw illegal video footage of staff euthanasing asnimals asnd alleged death threats against members, summary expulsion of board members for unspecified breaches of society rules and media bans. Nineteen directors left GAWS during the affair.
Euthanasia figures have plummeted since despite the society’s financial losses.