The council said it had only five holding pens, and had five dogs in the pound in early August, with one having a litter of 14, four of which died. Two dogs surrendered to the council had shown aggression towards staff and three dogs were picked up while roaming the streets. None were registered or chipped.
Ms Knezevic said much of the outrage was misdirected at the fact the dogs were shot: “Out here in regional country, a lot of them are because there’s no vets.”
“But the issue is that they were killed regardless of whether they were euthanised at the vet or shot. They should not have been killed,” she said.
The RSPCA and the Office of Local Government, which has encouraged councils to keep rehoming impounded animals during the NSW outbreak, are looking into the matter.
In a statement issued yesterday, Bourke Shire said the area was in a “tenuous situation” due to the Delta strain reaching the regions.
“Positive cases are on the increase. Council is being very careful with people entering Bourke. The majority of council staff have been stood down to avoid the virus spreading further in the community,” the statement said.
Ms Knezevic said she was worried this incident would cost the lives of other dogs and that she wanted to continue working with Bourke Shire.
“We’re not going to say we’re not working with you because you did this, that’s just stupid, that’s defying everything that we stand for,” she said.
The council statement said Bourke had supported rehoming animals in the past and would continue to into the future, saying its euthanising rates had dropped from 95 per cent in recent years to nearly zero, “such that it is now approaching nearly 100 per cent of dogs being rehomed, up until this required action”.
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