Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

The slaughter of 15 dogs at a regional New South Wales animal shelter in a cruel interpretation of Covid rules has been slammed by Parliament, which is now introducing legislation to prevent future atrocities. 

The Bourke Shire Council killed 15 dogs in August to prevent volunteers ‘risking infection’ by travelling from a shelter in Cobar, in central western NSW, to pick them up. 

At the time there were next to no Covid cases in the area, and the innocent animals including a mother and her puppies. 

The slaughter sparked international outrage, with comedian turned animal rights campaigner Ricky Gervais tweeting about the shootings. 

The Animal Justice Party successfully moved a motion on Wednesday banning pounds from ‘convenience killing’, where shelters exterminate animals despite there being willing local rescue groups. 

MP Emma Hurst told Daily Mail Australia there were two rescue shelters willing to take the dogs, and that members of her party had been rushing to save them. 

‘We were then told they had already been killed,’ she said.

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

The Bourke Shire Council in the north-west of NSW shot 15 dogs to prevent Cobar-based volunteers risking infection by travelling to the regional town to pick them up (pictured, a volunteer at the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in 2018)

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

MP Emma Hurst (pictured) said the party is now focusing on passing laws against the killing of animals in pounds and shelters where a rescue group is willing to take on their care

‘It was in the middle of lockdown, we were all already struggling for many reasons, and then this came on top of all of that. We need to find ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’

The slaughter of the 15 dogs caused outrage across the world, with American broadcasters covering the story at length and celebrities including Gervais sharing the news through social media.

The shootings prompted intervention from the council’s watchdog, the NSW Office of Local Government, which is investigating whether the state’s ‘companion dog or cruelty prevention laws’ were broken.  

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, who has previously been peppered with questions in Parliament over the shooting of animals in shelters, did not comment.

She said she was unaware of councils shooting dogs to euthanise them when asked in a budget estimates hearing in March. 

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

Vulnerable rescue dogs were shot dead by a regional NSW council in a shocking interpretation of Covid rules, despite volunteers offering to care for the animals (stock image)

‘If it was a practice, I would be concerned about it — if it was a cat or a dog,’ she said. 

However, a later answer revealed councils are not required to tell the government how they kill shelter animals. 

Ms Hurst says her party believes there were breaches of those laws.

‘To know there were people willing to take those dogs in,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘These dogs included a mother and their newborn puppies… we’ve heard during the pandemic the demand for pandemic puppies.’

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

The slaughter sparked international outrage, with even comedian Ricky Gervais tweeting about the shootings (stock image)

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News
, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

Ms Hurst (pictured) said on the whole ‘Australians love animals and hate animal cruelty’ but the system ‘doesn’t reflect’ that sentiment

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

, Australian council slaughters 15 dogs including newborn puppies in Covid blunder, Nzuchi Times National News

Office of Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock (middle) has previously said she would be concerned if cats and dogs were being shot as a way to euthanise them

She spoke of the ‘worldwide condemnation’ which helped rally support behind the motion, which was successfully passed in Parliament on Wednesday morning.

PARLIAMENT’S CONDEMNATION AND MOTION AGAINST DOG SLAUGHTER 

(a) on 22 August 2021, it was reported that Bourke Shire Council had shot and killed 15 dogs in their care, including a mother and her newborn puppies,

(b) these animal were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them and find them loving homes, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders, and

(c) Bourke Shire Council’s actions have received worldwide condemnation, and appear to be in breach of the Companion Animals Act 1988.

(2) That this House:

(a) condemns the cruel actions of Bourke Shire Council, and

(b) calls on the Minister for Local Government to prohibit the killing of animals in pounds and shelters where a rescue group is willing to take on their care.

 

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Her party is now looking to have ‘convenience killing’ made illegal, with new legislation in place that sees shelters and pounds contacting at least two local rescue groups before slaughtering animals.

‘It’s a relief, it’s good to know everyone’s on the same side with this,’ Ms Hurst said.

‘It’s very likely we get these laws changed.’

Despite the public backlash, Australia remains under archaic animal cruelty laws, with the live export industry only increasing, puppy farms remaining legal throughout most of the country and a lack of punishment for people who abuse.

Ms Hurst said on the whole ‘Australians love animals and hate animal cruelty’ but the system ‘doesn’t reflect’ that sentiment.

‘Our political system is set up to fail animals,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I’vee tried to ban puppy farms in Australia and the government won’t listen to us.

‘The agriculture minister is also in charge of animal protection. It’s like having the minister for mining also in charge of the environment. It’s a hopeless conflict of interest.’

The RSPCA estimates there to be more than 200 puppy farms still operational in NSW alone, a number Ms Hurst says is ‘dramatically increasing’.

Despite that, she says Australians have ‘really opened their eyes’ to the issues of ‘systemic’ animal abuse and they are looking to make real strides with normalising their protection.