Animal shelter

Concerns over takeover of Epping Animal Sanctuary

By Holly McGuinness

Animal rights activists remain concerned about the safety of animals at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility, after Whittlesea Council will not commit to a no-slaughter policy.

Whittlesea, together with Darebin and Moreland Councils, will take over responsibility for the RSPCA shelter on October 16.

At the September 19 council meeting, Thomastown Animal Justice Party candidate and Whittlesea resident Evie Levens questioned the takeover and what will happen to the animals housed there.

Ms Levens raised rumors that the council will ‘stop offering direct adoptions to the public’ and that if animals at the facility cannot be moved or rehomed they could ‘be killed out of sheer convenience’.

In response, Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd said “The three councils have worked together to develop an operating model designed to reduce current euthanasia rates and reunite as many animals as possible with their owners or find new loving homes”.

“There will be adoptions direct from the facility and to date we have partnered with 26 rescue groups and social care organizations who share our vision of improving outcomes for the animals in our care and to ensure that more animals find forever homes,” Lloyd said. .

Mr Lloyd said rumors that the council had ordered the RSPCA to empty the facility were untrue.

“As part of the transition arrangements, RSPCA Victoria has informed the council that it will be removing animals that have exceeded the eight-day quarantine period to other RSPCA shelters. Any animals still within eight days will remain at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility.

He confirmed that veterinary work would continue at the shelter, including animal vaccinations, flea and worm treatments and microchipping.

Mr Lloyd said a committee will be set up which will include staff from each council, the EAWF coordinator and the EAWF veterinarian to determine which unclaimed animals can be rehomed and which cannot.

“The members of this committee have the expertise, experience and qualifications necessary to ensure ethical decision-making.

“If at any time our rescue and welfare partners do not have the capacity to take animals, we will continue to care for them at the facility until there is capacity or until that the animal has been adopted in our establishment”.