Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Melburnians unite to save the Lort Smith animal shelter

The Age newspaper reported recently that the Lort Smith Animal Hospital will no longer be allowed to operate as a pound.
VICTORIA'S largest animal hospital has been banned from finding new homes for cats and dogs lost in the City of Melbourne, as local pounds brace for a sharp increase in the number of pets dumped over Christmas.

After helping to rehouse abandoned pets for the past 75 years, Lort Smith Animal Hospital has suddenly been ordered by Melbourne City Council to transfer all seized animals to a North Melbourne pound.

I think it might be that someone realised there was an agreement that councils would licence only one pound in each municipality and once that information was reported the Council had to act on it. I'm not quite sure whether this is the exact story behind it, but it does beg the question - couldn't whoever noticed the problem have kept it under his or her hat till after Christmas, when we humans celebrate by treating animals as disposable goods?

This is what Lort Smith says about the present situation.

I have enough faith in the humanity of our councillors to imagine that they are dismayed to have to act in such an inhumane way right before Christmas, the season of pet abandonment and cruelty. I'm hopeful that they are working hard to resolve the issue. But it never hurts to let them know we care.

I went to the site where the email addresses of the Councillors are listed and wrote to them all.

If you would be able to write a letter to the Melbourne City Councillors, it would be great. If you want some ideas, there are letters that others have written, here and here.

I said:


I have read that the Lort Smith Animal Hospital has been forced to cut back its shelter operations due to a Melbourne City council decision, as reported in The Age newspaper.

For some years I have been a supporter of the work done by the Lort Smith Animal Hospital and I would like to register my disappointment with the Council’s action.

I realise that the decision may have come about through a discovery that the Hospital was inadvertently not complying with regulations, but I would hope that Melbourne City Council can work with the Hospital to urgently put some arrangements in place to care for lost animals at this critical time of the year.

Lort Smith provides an essential service for us all, in making Melbourne a place where animals are treated humanely, so that we can take pride in our city. If the Lost Dogs’ Home has to take on the numbers of animals who would otherwise have been sheltered at Lort Smith, I fear there will be an even greater number of innocent animals euthanased.

If Lort Smith has operated as a shelter under successive Councils for 75 years, without anyone acting on this discrepancy, it must appear that this newly elected Council is overly bureaucratic and inhumane – not a good image.

I urge you to work with the Hospital to resolve the issue in an imaginative and humane way, so that Melburnians can have faith that you are the leaders we want you to be.

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