Social media storm over animal shelter cruelty claims

Glenfield Road Animal Shelter.A social media storm has erupted over sickening allegations of animal abuse at a Wagga ratepayer-funded animal shelter.
Nanjing Night Net

Wagga City Council has moved to address the issue, which was trending on Facebook late on Monday.

It comes after a petition, started by former volunteers of the facility, has attracted more than25,000 signatures supporters since it opened a day ago.

The petition calls for the council to improve animal welfare at the facility after one of the volunteers rescued a kitten that had been placed in a freezer while still alive.

A report has been completed by the RSPCA on the incident, but it was not yet available to the council.

“If we don’t receive the report by the end of the week, I will commission another review from another organisation to ensure that a third party can verify, without question, the quality of the facility,” Mr Eldridge said.

Wagga City Council general manager Alan Eldridge and Wagga mayor Rod Kendall.

Council has been hit with community backlash after Fairfax Media revealed the story, with some calling forcouncil to be sacked and criminal charges being laid.

Council general manager Alan Eldridge told media a governance team, which is a separate branch inside of council,will keep an eye on proceedings at the pound.

“We take animal welfare very seriously,” Mr Eldridge said.“We want to assure the community … that the things that have occurred, and there’s been some issues with the animal shelter in the past, is not the way we do business.”

Mr Eldridge stressed none of the current staff at the facility were employed at the shelter at the time theallegations took place.

There are three staff working at the facility, plus four rangers.

When questioned if volunteers would be stood down during the review process, Mr Eldridge said council still wanted volunteersat the shelter.

“We do still have volunteers (that work at the facility),” he said.“We won’t be saying‘no more volunteers’.

“Volunteers are part of the future, however, there’s got to be a way we can all manage the different ideals and philosophies and we have to stick to the rules and obligations of the Act.”

Mr Eldridge said the community response to the allegations had been “overwhelming” in the past few days.

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