Sunday 22 August 2021

Dogs 'euthanized' by shooting in a New South Wales pound

NEWS AND COMMENT: It appears to me that shooting dogs in publicly funded pounds in New South Wales is quietly accepted. They are shot as a form of euthanasia. The news is shocking and yet unsurprising because Australians do like to shoot 'things' particularly feral cats and kangaroos!

Dogs in a pound
Dogs in a pound. Images: PA.

On this occasion several dogs were impounded within a publicly funded facility but they were due to be transferred to a rescue shelter but before that happened, they were shot by officials of Bourke Shire Council. The excuse given is that they didn't want to expose volunteers who are coming to pick up the dogs to the Covid-19 virus.

The incident is being investigated because it may be a criminal act. It should be a criminal act because you can't euthanised a dog with a bullet in my honest opinion and therefore it's animal cruelty and it falls under the animal cruelty laws of that state. But no doubt nothing will happen.

Volunteers who were asked to pick up the dogs are obviously distressed. The Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, has not commented. Lisa Ryan an animal liberation campaigner has asked for an urgent investigation. She was deeply distressed and appalled by the incident. She rejects the justification for the shooting.

Hancock claimed that she wasn't aware of the euthanasia of pound animals by shooting. She said that if was a practice she'd been concerned. 

Apparently, councils are not required to reveal how they euthanise animals in their care. It also encourages me to believe that shooting dogs and cats in pounds happens. We don't know how often. I hope rarely but I have a feeling that it is not that rare.

Abigail Boyd, a Greens MP and animal welfare spokeswoman said that the government had still not taken any action despite the issue being raised in Parliament. She said: "Council pounds are paid for by local communities, and it is clear that shooting lost and unclaimed dogs housed in these publicly-funded facilities falls far short of community expectations."

That too implies that shooting dogs in pounds is not uncommon. A spokesperson for the office of local government said that they'd issued new guidance during the pandemic about keeping staff and volunteers safe through altered procedures while ensuring that their services continued. Perhaps it is this directive which is being utilised to justify the shooting of these dogs. If so, it's a feeble reason. It is a cruel act. I hope someone pays for it.

But the fact that the matter is that there seems to be a disconnect among a large segment of Australian society between their desire to eradicate feral cats by shooting or in any other way (poisoning) and the morality of that act. And I think that when you engage in mass slaughter of any animal as is the case with feral cats in Australia, you blunt your sensitivity towards animal sentience and this leads to the sort of event described in this article.


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