PETITION TARGET: The Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock and New South Wales legislators
UPDATE (2/21/2022): Convenience killing of adoptable companion animals will soon be a crime in New South Wales, now that the Companion Animals Amendment Bill has passed both houses of the NSW Parliament, according to reporting from AAP. We are overjoyed that innocent animals will no longer be able to so easily be sent to untimely and brutal deaths and thank the more than 37,500 people who signed our petition demanding justice! —Lady Freethinker Staff
Fifteen homeless dogs about to be rescued — including 10 helpless puppies — were instead shot dead in rural New South Wales (NSW), Australia, by a government body claiming COVID-19 concerns.
The Bourke Shire Council said it authorized killing the dogs to prevent animal shelter volunteers outside the area from coming to retrieve the dogs while potentially bringing COVID-19 with them.
The council claims the senseless and brutal deaths were necessary to protect its employees and community, which includes vulnerable Aboriginal populations, according to a spokesperson from the Office of Local Government (OLG), which oversees the council.
While Australia has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, Bourke, where the dogs were shot to death, has had a total of 33 coronavirus cases and Cobar, where the shelter is located, has had one, according to government health data at the time of this story’s publication.
An OLG spokesperson told Lady Freethinker (LFT) in late September that an investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-New South Wales found no evidence of wrong-doing — clearing the council of their indisputably cruel action.
But an RSCPA-NSW spokesperson added the agency wished the council had handled things much differently.
“RSPCA NSW believes that physically healthy and behaviourally sound companion animals that are suitable for adoption should not be euthanised,” the agency told LFT. “This situation shows that there is more work to be done in the area of animal welfare, particularly in remote communities and particularly during a pandemic.”
Now, there is new hope. New South Wales Parliamentarian Emma Hurst has proposed new legislation that would require pounds and shelters to advertise homeless animals and also consult with two rescues — at least seven days before scheduled euthanasia — to stop what she says are “convenience killings.”
Given existing guidance that councils prioritize animal welfare and consider alternatives prior to euthanizing animals, as well as a spike during the COVID-19 pandemic in interest for adoptable pets as companion animals — it’s critical that this life-saving legislation be considered and passed before any more healthy and innocent dogs die.
The proposed bill already has passed the upper house but is meeting resistance in the lower house, where the Minister for Local Government has pointed to a “comprehensive review” of rehoming policies and a report that’s expected — but not until the end of next year.
Dogs and helpless puppies being brutally and needlessly killed can’t wait that long. It’s time for New South Wales to build its reputation as a compassionate state that won’t tolerate the killing of healthy and happy dogs for convenience.
Sign this petition urging the Minister for Local Government for New South Wales Shelley Hancock and New South Wales legislators to hear and support this new and common-sense legislation and so afford countless innocent animals the chance to live — and bring happiness and peace to their future adopters.