Liverpool Council reverses decision to send lost pets to Blacktown
There has been a stunning development in a southwest Sydney council’s controversial decision to relocate lost and roaming animals to a pound 30km away.
Cindy Ngo, Liverpool Leader
Liverpool Council has sensationally reversed a decision to relocate lost and roaming animals 30km away to Blacktown following public backlash.
At its meeting on February 26, Councillors voted to advise Blacktown Council it would not take up its proposal to use its future $27 million state-of-the-art pound, which will replace its current facility.
The council had previously said Liverpool Animal Shelter would close next month after the privately owned land on which it operates was sold and it was unable to extend its lease.
Pet owners would have been forced to reclaim their pets at Blacktown City Animal Holding Facility as part of the controversial move.
The council’s chief executive Kiersten Fishburn told the Leader at the time it would be “prohibitively expensive” to build a new shelter in Liverpool and “the new arrangement with Blacktown City Council would deliver significant savings for ratepayers”.
“The estimated cost of providing a new facility similar to the existing animal shelter would be $17 million in capital expenditure and $1 million in ongoing operating costs, compared to approximately $500,000 per annum for the new agreement with Blacktown City Animal Holding Facility and the salary of an additional ranger,” she said.
The council voted at its meeting to direct the chief executive to negotiate with the land owner to extend the current lease in the short term and discuss the possibility of a shelter for the long term on the current site.
The council will also investigate options to build a new shelter on council-owned land in Liverpool.
Independent Councillor Karress Rhodes, who opposed the move to Blacktown from the outset because it was an issue “close to her heart”, said it was a good outcome for residents.
“It was an opportunity for us to put forward the proposition that the people of Liverpool actually really do want an animal shelter here in the Liverpool LGA and it’s not unfeasible for us to be able to do that,” she said. “It is something that Liverpool should be providing for its citizens.”
Liberal Councillor Tony Hadchiti, who also opposed the Blacktown solution, said animal rescue volunteers did an “amazing” job and should not have to travel to Blacktown to drop off animals.
He said a local animal shelter was an “essential service”.