A bill that would make it a crime for animal shelters in New South Wales (NSW) to destroy dogs and cats because it is “cheaper and easier” than finding them permanent homes has passed both houses of Parliament and is poised to become law.

Lady Freethinker would like to thank the more than 37,500 readers who signed our petition urging legislators to support this common-sense bill that will afford countless innocent animals the chance to live and bring joy to their future adopters.

The success of the Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill, introduced by Animal Justice Party Parliamentarian Emma Hurst, comes after 15 dogs and puppies were shot dead by order of a local government in NSW’s remote northwest, despite at least two rescue groups offering to take them.

The Bourke Shire Council (BSC) cited concerns that the rescue volunteers could possibly bring COVID into the area, although the groups had COVID-related precautions in place.  The NSW Office of Local Government, the NSW Ombudsman, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) investigated the circumstances surrounding the killings and has since cleared the council of any legal wrongdoing, although the RSPCA told Lady Freethinker they wished the situation had been handled differently.

Hurst agreed, telling the AAP that the “atrocity could have been avoided,” and that “Our weak laws failed these dogs.”

She added the bill was a mandate for shelters and pounds to work more closely with rescue groups to avoid these kinds of tragedies in the future, saying no animals would be destroyed “for the sake of convenience.”

“The shooting of these dogs should never have happened,” she told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “Now we can be sure it will never happen again.”