Sad days it seems

August 16th, 2014

My letter to the Councillors sent on Wednesday arvo has resulted in not one response so far. I emailed Cr Garland to check it had been received and he says yes. My letter to the Councillors is my previous post. I await the response that Cr Garland tells me he will send.

I have been told that the reason that the dogs are being killed at the pound is because it is too expensive to take them to the vet! To say I am incredulous is an understatement!

Time for some background. I took over as President of Fraser Coast Pet Warriors in 2010 after being asked by the then President, Ms Marie Barnes, to step in to try and save the organisation from collapsing.

On being elected as President, together with a brand new committee, we discovered how poorly the organisation had been managed. We fixed most things quite quickly. We made sure all monies received were properly accounted for. We made sure every animal we saved was desexed and received all the vet care it required. We kept absolutely detailed records. Council only had to ring me and within minutes I could provide them with accurate details of every pet we had or had adopted. Dates of desexing, dates of vaccinations etc, etc. But we were not perfect. I am hopeless at asking for help so we didn’t solicit donations. We had times when our web site was not up to date. We could have done lots of things better. But we saved heaps of pets… And failed to save heaps more!

For approx 2 years I visited the pound usually more than once a week. I claimed dogs that I should have left behind and probably didn’t claim dogs that I should have. To walk the line of cages and more or less decide who lived and who probably didn’t is not a job I ever imagined I would do. But I did! Running a rescue is extremely hard work and is heart breaking.

Foster carers require support and help. Pets have to be moved at short notice. Homes have to be found. Some dogs had a queue of people wanting them and the awful process of deciding who would be the successful applicant was heart wrenching. But not quite as heart wrenching as the dogs that nobody wanted. The dogs that stayed with us week after week after week! Did we ever give up? There were several times we were a whisker away from deciding to euthanise but guess what. Something always happened to stop us. In my time at Pet Warriors we did not ever kill one dog.

But one day we rescued a litter of tiny kittens. One little boy in this litter was paralysed and had no bowel or bladder control. He came home with me and we spent a lovely night with him. The next day I knew what the vet would say. I left the vet alone. But a piece of my heart stayed behind.

In those 2 years I knew that the pound at Hervey Bay was run reasonably well. There were many problems but the Compliance Staff did the best job that they could under very difficult conditions that I have detailed previously.

Now I find that this Council is so stingy that they ‘cannot afford’ to take the pets to the vet to be euthanised. To imagine that they are killing animals at the pound within sight of the other pets there absolutely sickens me.

Please help. Ask the Councillors to better fund our Pound. It is as simple as that!

Hervey Bay Pound troubles

August 13th, 2014

Dear Mayor, Councillors and CEO.

I am sure that all of you shared the sadness and horror that has been felt by people far and wide when the pictures of the poor dead and casually discarded Hervey Bay pound pets were shared publicly. I think the only person not distressed would be the person(s) responsible.

I have listened to and read your response Mr Mayor and sadly I find your words hypocritical. I heard you say that Animal Compliance is probably the hardest area of responsibility that Council has to deal with. I totally agree with you. But why then do you not properly fund your pound system?

I know from first hand experience the heartbreak involved in coping with the large numbers of unwanted pets that so sadly end up in cages at the pounds. In my time at Council, and while working with Pet Warriors, we improved things just slightly. We introduced Fraser Coast Pets so pound pet pics could go straight to Facebook via staff IPads. We budgeted to build the new pound which is now done.

But what did we fail to do? We failed to ensure that Council employed trained and dedicated full time Pound Staff. We continue to expect our hard working Compliance Officers to deal with a myriad of compliance complaints as well as dealing with dogs and cats! Not only do we expect these staff who are often untrained in Animal Management, to do this heartbreaking work day after day and night after night we then provide inadequate administrative back up.

The number of times that animals are in the pound but not ‘on the system’ and the lack of cross checking owner data and the absolute hopelessness of the Council software system to even manage the data is another major fail!

We have failed to properly fund and install dedicated software that can record and retrieve all that needs to be recorded to ensure pets are given the very best chance of making it out of the pound alive! This software is not very expensive but we need enough staff trained and given the time to use it, otherwise it is useless!

Sadly in Hervey Bay our largest Animal Refuge is run more like a private business rather than a charitable member driven organisation and this group have never had a policy of desexing the pets that it sells. Council cannot, and must not, depend on volunteer groups such as this to assist in pet rehoming.

Your current Council had made some giant leaps forward by introducing tougher Local Laws in relation to pet ownership and pet breeding but I fear these Laws are useless as Council has not properly resourced staff to ensure these new Laws are being enforced.

Please Councillors do the right thing. Do not abdicate your responsibility to overworked and untrained staff. Appoint a Pound Manager who works solely to ensure all pound pets have the best chance of finding a loving home and that all pets entering the pound are treated well. If some pets must die to make sure that they are given a dignified death.

It is not good enough to offer any rescue group or individual a paltry amount of funding (approx $18k) per year, to manage the facility and provide access 7 days a week. It is not OK to have opening hours that ensure workers cannot get to the pound. It is not OK to have to make an appointment to see your pet. It is not OK to partner with anyone or any group who does not desex pets for rehoming and that does not provide proof of this back to Council. It is not OK to expect local rescue groups and hard working dedicated volunteers to do your job for you without adequate support and adequate monitoring.

So please, please, please stop the rot and properly fund your Animal Management team. Amend your budget now. The animals should not have to pay for the inadequacies of our fellow human beings with their lives!

Save our Parks.

March 29th, 2014

Appalled and upset and betrayed. These are the feelings I have on learning recently that Council has decided to sell some of our parks. These parks were the open space component of the residential developments that surround them. The Planning Scheme still requires development to provide open space so I simply don’t understand how Council can now decide parks are not needed. Recently Council also decided to build a carpark for a kindergarten in a public park at Scarness.
Doesn’t Council realise that our small pocket parks are essential breathing spaces? These parks are treasured by the residents that live around them. Many residents actively seek to live adjacent or in close proximity to a local park.
Parks are a play space. They are a breathing space. Many of them contain trees which are home to many and varied wildlife. Parks help clean our air. Parks are even more essential in these times when backyards are becoming extinct. Where else can children run and play? Where else can our more senior community members take a leisurely stroll? Walk their dog?
In Palmwood Dve in Dundowran Beach is a small park. It is covered in native palm trees unique to our coastal area. Div 5 Cr Rolf Light has told me that he supports the selling of our parks because selling ‘unproductive’ land is a good thing to do!
I ask Cr Light and his colleagues when did they ask us, their constituents, if we believed our parks were unproductive? Tenders were called before Xmas. Some parks, I believe, have their fate sealed already!
I did not know that this Council has plans to sell our parks. Yes parks cost money to maintain so why not do what other Councils do and develop a volunteer Friends of the Parks scheme? But to sell off our children’s future just for the sake of making money appalls me. Councillors please rethink this ridiculous and harmful strategy. Save our Parks!

Koalas versus Development

July 17th, 2013

So Council will spend our money developing a Koala Management Plan. What an utter and total waste of time and money! The only plan that Council should be revising is the Draft Fraser Coast Planning Scheme. This scheme will take precedence over every and any other plan and it will outline which land can and cannot be developed.

It seems Government is happy to spend lots and lots of money “planning”. We are all invited to participate and mostly the outcomes are simple common sense. BUT how many of these plans are costed and include actual mechanisms to enable the actual achievement of he aims described within?

I have never ever in all my years involved with Council witnessed a ‘plan’ that actually achieved what it set out to do. After all the recent land clearing at Tinana, which is sensitive koala habitat, was approved for development under the current Maryborough Planning Scheme! Please don’t throw good money down the drain. Just fix the actual Planning Scheme to properly protect environmentally important lands.

Touching base…

May 22nd, 2013

Just working, working, working these days but feel sad that I neglect my blog… This blog has always been mainly a friendly place and I miss the exchange of opinions and ideas. It seems Facebook has taken over this role somewhat but I find people can be nastier on Facebook also. It is sad that people sometimes obviously feel safe to be nasty electronically but I often wonder would the same words be said face to face! Me thinks not!
But we are very busy with our new Food Truck business which requires 4 am starts and is hard work for both of us but there weren’t many job offers coming our way so buying ourselves a job seemed sensible.
The house is still a work in progress…. Maybe the tiler that we have waited over 2 weeks now for a quote will get back to us tomorrow. I am so tempted to nag but decided better not… Once the tiling is finished the vanities and taps and showers go in and we can move in. What a relief that will be…
I also try hard not to get involved or care too much about Council stuff. I am appreciating a rest from that life and the hectic world that local politics is but I am still mad keen to ensure Hervey By is not spoiled and am glad that the market downturn is keeping the development at bay because this Council is very, very pro development!
Anyhow I hope you are snuggled up tight with this cold weather and that life is treating you with kindness. Take care as always..

Appalled, sad, upset and ready to fight!

February 19th, 2013

At no time ever did the previous amalgamated Council discuss getting rid of the Hervey Bay Esplanade nodes nor did the previous Council desire increased height limits! The ‘new’ draft scheme is exactly what I expected of Mayor O’Connell. It is now that his true desires become apparent. He has rewritten the Hervey Bay Planning a scheme and allowed high density right along the entire foreshore from Urangan to Pt Vernon. A travesty! Noosa put itself on the map by saying no to high rise! But the developers have got what they want. It is time once again for the Hervey Bay community to stand up and fight or we will surely lose our much envied lifestyle! There are 11 Councillors. It will require 6 of them to overturn this stupid ill thought out change for the worse.

Not Just a Hissy Fit!

February 13th, 2013

What a very poor choice of headline in the Fraser Coast Chronicle today that trivialises such a very important issue. Anyone who has regularly visited any Council pound sees the end result of irresponsible cat and dog breeding. Beautiful, beautiful pets that spend their last days in a noisy horrible cage before that one way trip to the vet. Why do we as a society continue to turn a blind eye to a growing problem? We get upset about the way cattle are treated at an overseas abattoir, and rightly so, but here in our own towns and cities we are killing cats and dogs by the hundreds week in week out!

The Hervey Bay Animal Refuge (HBAR) is a privately run facility. It appears not to have a wide representative membership, regular public meetings or an open and accountable committee. I am unsure if it is in fact a legally functioning non profit organisation or registered charity. From what I
observe it is run more like a business. HBAR has a high turnover of volunteers and the most recent very hard working caretakers have just left. They say their treatment by ‘committee’ members was far from civil. Many other ex volunteers tell me similar stories.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit via rescuing pets in need. In fact without a profit rescue groups could not survive. But the Hervey Bay Animal Refuge continues to publicly plea for donations as well as having surrender fees and a large regular income via the Nikenbah markets, yet still continues to sell its pets undesexed! I know of no other animal rescue group that does not desex.

By not desexing HBAR is acting just like a pet shop. It is ensuring that it continues to have a never ending supply of pets by its lack of a desexing policy. The refuge is claiming to be raising funds for desexing. Has been doing so for months.. So where are these funds going? Selling non desexed cats and kittens for $10 each is irresponsible. While some new owners can and will do the right thing there will be many that won’t. Sadly at $10 a kitten it is also a cheap dinner for a hungry pet python! I desperately hope that no kittens are bought for any reason other than to become much loved and cared for and desexed family pets.

HBAR has a large cattery and excellent facilities and a sympathetic public. It is simply a great injustice to all the animal loving residents in our community that HBAR continues to sell undesexed pets. It is time that the community demanded they do the right thing. After all every other rescue group including the Maryborough Refuge can manage to sell desexed pets so there simply are no excuses!

Ex Cyclone Oswald

January 28th, 2013

Take care everybody. I hope that you have all survived the big wet and for those living and owning businesses adjacent the Mary River I truly hope that you can recover after the water recedes. For Burrum Heads residents that have had their houses and sheds battered with roofs lost I trust that your insurance will help you recover. For families that have lost loved ones my heart goes out to you.
I am so sad that our beautiful foreshore has also taken such a battering. Many, many trees have gone, fallen by the undermining erosion as has infrastructure such as at both Aqua Vue and Enzo’s in town and many foreshore parklands have also been decimated. Now is still the time to assist those in need and to help when and where we can. Take care everybody.

Wide Bay Water finally to go back where it belongs

November 13th, 2012

For many, many years I have tried in vain to explain how much money is wasted by having a Local Government Owned Corporation in Wide Bay Water Corp. In years gone by the waste was mind blowing. More recently under the leadership of Peter Scott and the new Board instigated by the previous Council, WBWC has been much better managed. But, to put it quite simply, we do not need a LGOC. I really, really hope Council treads carefully and slowly to dismantle the structure and protects jobs as much as it possibly can but at the end of the day this Council has made the right decision. One I would have preferred was made 4 years ago.

Cats and Dogs – Council gets it right!

November 9th, 2012

Every one of us involved in rescuing discarded cats and dogs, that through no fault of their own, become surplus to humans requirements, will be ecstatic to hear that our Council is advancing the tightening of our Animal Control Laws. The introduction of tighter breeding and desexing controls is one small but hugely important step towards halting the over supply of cats that end up either running wild, becoming feral and killing native wildlife, or on death row at the local pounds.

Education does not work, higher registration fees does not work but combined with sensible breeding and desexing Laws properly enforced, then maybe we will start killing less perfectly healthy, beautiful and loving cats and kittens each and every week.

As President of Pet Warriors I hope to live to see the day that our organisation and other similar charitable volunteer organisations close because there are no more cats and dogs in need of saving.

And for the critics I say… If you don’t believe tighter animal breeding and desexing Laws are needed please let me know when next you wish to accompany myself or a volunteer to the local pound and maybe take the trip to the vet with our poor Council compliance officers who all detest that part of their job, or assist the vet in killing perfectly healthy, friendly and innocent cats and dogs! I am appalled that each and every week death is the only future for so many of our cats and dogs.

« Prev - Next »