Animal group Just Cats will takeover regional cat management for the state’s North.
City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said the Longford-based shelter had been chosen as the preferred supplier of regional cat shelter services, following an expressions of interest process.
It follows the appointment of Dogs' Homes of Tasmania as the preferred supplier of the council's dog pound services and regional dog shelter services.
Just Cats will operate a satellite facility at the council's Mowbray facility on an interim basis, but will also continue homing cats at its Longford facility.
Councillor van Zetten said it was envisaged that a stand-alone cat management facility would be established to service the entire region.
“That's something we're all certainly working towards and the next step in that process will be identifying a suitable location,” he said.
“It is important to note that Just Cats will not be contracted to provide the cat service for City of Launceston alone, but rather will provide a cat shelter service for the entire Northern Tasmanian community.”
Just Cats owner Rachel Beech said she was excited by the opportunity, but that the organisation would require a lot of financial support to help with the transition.
The council’s current contract with the RSPCA is due to expire on December 31, with Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania expected to commence services on January 30.
The council will assume management of dog pound services for an interim six week period over Christmas, from December 19.
Cr van Zetten said council officers had been working closely with the RSPCA and DHOT to facilitate the transition of services.
“From the public's perspective, there will be virtually no change to services currently for dog pound services,” he said.
“And to avoid any unnecessary impoundment of animals, our regulations officers will make every effort to reunite stray animals with their rightful owners prior to and in preference to impounding them.”
Under the temporary arrangements, any stray dog will initially be taken to the Mowbray pound, before being transferred to neighbouring council facilities at Exeter or Westbury until such time as DHOT takes up permanent residence in January.
RSPCA Tasmania chief executive Andrew Byrne said he was pleased a solution had been found to ensure all stray dogs would be cared for across the “difficult period”.
“Our main priority is that of the welfare of the animals currently at the Mowbray shelter, as well as those that are expected to arrive over this transitional period, and RSPCA Tasmania looks forward to working with council and the DHOT through this transition to ensure the best level of care into the future.”
Dr Byrne said he wanted to reassure Tasmanians the RSPCA was not reducing its activity across the state, but rather ensuring the organisation can continue to play the leading role when it comes to the protection of Tasmanian animals in need.
“We are redefining our future and working to deliver what the community expect to see from the RSPCA – that is an RSCPA that is secure in its responsibility to care and protect Tasmania’s most vulnerable animals,” he said.
“We are working to identify a conveniently located central care facility where we will be able to consolidate our services, including our shelter, veterinary and animal welfare services, to provide optimal attention and focus for the animals in our care.
“We are also committed to working in collaboration with other animal welfare organisations to provide the best possible rehoming opportunities for surrendered and abandoned animals and strengthening our network of animal foster carers.”
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