A deadline of two weeks should be imposed on the length of time that stray animals from Moyne Shire are kept at a Warrnambool animal shelter, councillor Daniel Meade says.
Cr Meade said Moyne ratepayers should not be hit with high costs of care for stray pets because the animal’s owners had been negligent in reclaiming them.
The Moyne councillor was commenting on a move by Warrnambool City Council (WCC) to charge Moyne Shire $160,000 to use the Warrnambool animal shelter that is run by the RSPCA Victoria, a request that Moyne rejected.
Moyne had previously contracted with the RSPCA to use the shelter but now has to contract with Warrnambool council for access.
WCC called for a bigger Moyne contribution after the cost of Warrnambool’s new three-year contract with the RSPCA to use the shelter rose substantially.
Moyne Shire’s environmental and regulatory services manager Robert Gibson said his council’s contract with the RSPCA had been for eight days care of stray animals after which the RSPCA was financially liable and sought to rehome them.
Cr Meade said he expected ratepayers would object to having to pay for the care of stray animals for an indefinite period of time because their owners had not looked after them properly.
He said the council was looking at a number of options on how it could care for stray animals such as using other animal pounds than Warrnambool. Small animals veterinarian Sam O’Keefe has said people who lost pets in the Moyne Shire area had traditionally gone to the Warrnambool shelter site to collect them and driving to Portland or Hamilton would be an impost on them.