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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1119 asked in the Legislative Council on 26 September 2019 by Hon Alison Xamon

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

ANIMAL WELFARE — DOMESTIC ANIMALS — KIMBERLEY

1119. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:

I refer to the ABC Kimberley story '''Crisis Level' means healthy puppies, kittens in the Kimberley could be killed if no-one lends a hand'' from 25 August about the developing crisis in animal welfare in the state's far north.

(1) What proactive measures has the government taken, or does it plan to take, to reduce the ongoing demand for these kinds of shelters for domestic animals?

(2) What plans does the government have to assist groups like Saving Animals from Euthanasia—SAFE—in the Kimberley to deal with the increasing numbers of stray, abandoned and neglected animals that it is having to deal with on a daily basis?

(3) Will the state government commit to funding a full-time RSPCA animal welfare inspector to address the significant level of need identified in the state's far north?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1)–(3) This is a complex issue. The last couple of times that I have been to Broome, I certainly have spoken to members of the community about SAFE. I can say that one of the things that we are doing is we have really expanded the program of going into remote communities and sterilising dogs. We have really upped the funding to the maximum that the Murdoch University veterinary school can deal with. Through the process of going into communities to sterilise dogs, and at the same time through the Department of Health, we are educating people about the problems in controlling dogs. We have been taking that proactive measure to try to address this problem at source. We do not have a direct responsibility for the running of shelters, but this is an issue that obviously needs more work. As the member knows, we are currently undertaking an animal welfare review, and there may be something that comes out of that review. We are well aware of the challenges and difficulties that the RSPCA has been experiencing. It is contracted to be the primary responder to reports of cruelty to animals, particularly companion animals. We have recently given a two-year extension to the RSPCA contract. We have backdated consumer price index increases to 2011 because it is quite improper that it had not been receiving CPI increases. But we do recognise that there is a problem in the north, and we are currently negotiating and discussing with the RSPCA how we can improve those services.