FIGHT FOR LIFE: These puppies, who were found roaming around Berserker, were euthanised by the pound after contracting parvo.
FIGHT FOR LIFE: These puppies, who were found roaming around Berserker, were euthanised by the pound after contracting parvo. Contributed

Outrage over pound dog euthanasia, mayor calls for review

AFTER months of controversy surrounding the Rockhampton region dog pound, Mayor Margaret Strelow has called for a review of the facility after hundreds of people lined up yesterday to criticise it following the tragic deaths of two puppies.

Social media lit up in fury after the puppies were euthanised by the pound on Tuesday despite frantic attempts from rescue groups to save them.

The sick dogs were euthanised because they had parvovirus, a deadly illness that Cr Strelow admitted they probably picked up at the pound.

Brisbane-based rescue group Fresh Start ignited a social media storm on Monday night when they publicised their efforts to rescue the two puppies, which were surrendered by their owner.

The volunteer group slammed council, and said they offered to take the dogs and pay for parvo treatment themselves.

On Monday night they spoke to Cr Strelow who indicated they could sign an indemnity form and pick up the dogs in the morning, rather than open the pound after hours.

On Tuesday morning Katina Kilpatrick, the Capricorn Animal Aid president, went to the pound to collect the dogs but was left waiting for two hours because staff didn't know about the discussion.

Hours after she arrived it was determined that the dogs were too sick, and were put down.

Katina suspects council tried to cover up their illness due to recent negative coverage of the pound's parvo issues.

"We'd really like more honest and open interactions with staff and council," she said.

"We just want to see council make animal management a priority.

"When large numbers are recorded being euthanised, we want to see what is happening to improve that."

Yesterday Cr Strelow expressed regret, but said she didn't want to make excuses "for things that haven't been done well".

She said the puppies, which were not micro- chipped, were sent to the pound last Wednesday after being taken to a local vet.

According to council records on Saturday they were approved for adoption, but on Monday a person came to the pound claiming to be their owner.

According to policy this meant the pound had to either get a release form or wait five days.

Monday was also the first day the dogs began exhibiting signs of parvovirus.

However, Katina has been in touch with the real owner who said they didn't contact the pound.

"Our staff made three separate attempts to contact the owner to get a release," Cr Strelow said. "What that doesn't make right is the fact we also didn't start to treat the dogs for parvo.

"Historically there has been a council policy… not to treat for parvo in a pound. I'm not saying that is right either.

"To my own way of thinking in this case, where someone has said they were willing to pay for it (treatment), we really should have done better."

Cr Strelow also said they were only days away from implementing a newly purchased quarantine area.

"Bigger picture, obviously we need a new pound, it's in the budget for 2019," she said.

"We will be delivering it next term."

Katina said a quarantine area was a long time coming.

"This recent incident, it's not new… this is something we have been dealing with for years," she said.

"It all comes back to having quarantine for puppies and having open and clear communication with rescues who are trying to help."

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