The Tamworth Regional Companion Animal Centre will finally be afforded some relief with the newly named Paws for Life Animal Shelter and Boarding Kennels now officially open.
Paws for Life was the winning name voted on by the community and will provide space for 21 dogs while they wait to be adopted.
“We are still seeing huge numbers [at the pound]. There are 11 dogs currently and we only have 15 pens, so it only takes one or two more and we are full again,” said Gina Vereker, Director Liveable Communities.
With over 950 dogs received by the pound each year, far exceeding its available space, the closure of the Heaven Can Wait Animal Shelter and Boarding Kennels left Council’s ability to meet its responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act greatly affected.
Gina Vereker with Paws for Life adoptee Clyde.
Council has secured a two-year lease with the facility, but now has two years to find a permanent site.
“We are all overjoyed with the new facility, but the bigger picture for [Council] is to find a permanent site,” said Ms Vereker.
“My attention is going to be focussed on actually getting a design done, looking for funding, and looking for a new site.”
Ms Vereker also said the opening is a timely reminder for people to remember responsible pet ownership.
“We are making sure every dog that leaves the facility will be desexed, and if you are going to adopt a puppy from there, then the cost for desexing will be included in the adoption price.
“They will also be vaccinated and microchipped, and looking into the future, it is hoped new owners can be linked up with animal behavioural experts to address other issues.
“These are all important steps in responsible pet ownership.”
The facility is initially open on a part-time basis, requiring an appointment Monday to Friday and fully open on Saturdays 9am to 2pm.
Prospective adopters are welcome to play with the dogs and even take them for walks, so they really get to know the dog before they take them home.
But the biggest message Ms Vereker wants to tell people is to not adopt or buy a dog if you don’t intend it to be forever.
“With the cost of living at the moment, please don’t adopt or buy a pet unless you have thought about the costs for the whole pet’s life.
“I certainly sympathise with those who have had to make the difficult choice to surrender, and we know those people want to know effort is being put into finding another loving home, so I give that commitment to them,” said Ms Vereker.