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Convenience killing in pounds to be outlawed

Animal Justice Party Bill to save the lives of cats and dogs on death row will become law as NSW Government makes the unprecedented move to back Private Member’s Bill

The Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021 tabled by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst and taken carriage of in the Lower House by Alex Greenwich MP (independent member for Sydney) has passed both Houses of NSW Parliament.

The Bill was tabled in response to the shooting of 15 dogs and puppies by Bourke Shire Council, where animals were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them in, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders. An RSPCA investigation found the killing was legal.

The Bill passed the Upper House in November 2021, and passed the Lower House today (with minor amendments) with the support of the NSW Government.

Please see comment from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC below:
Convenience killing - the killing of rehomeable animals because it is easier, cheaper, or faster than working to rehome the animals directly or through a rehoming organisation - is now going to become illegal in NSW”.

“In August last year Bourke Shire pound shot the dogs in their care. These animals were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them and find loving homes, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders. Shockingly it appears the shooting was legal. The shooting of these dogs should never have happened - now we can be sure it will never happen again.

“This atrocity could have been avoided – our weak laws failed these dogs. But it isn’t just happening at Bourke Shire Council. There are some council pounds that have very high kill rates because they are not working with rescues. One NSW pound euthanised nearly 150 dogs and over 130 cats but released less than 40 animals to rescue groups.

“In NSW, thousands of homeless dogs and cats are killed each year. In 2020-2021, almost 2000 dogs and 7000 cats were killed in NSW pounds. Only a very small percentage of these animals are euthanised because they are so unwell it would be cruel to keep them alive.

“This Bill will now mandate pounds to work with rescue groups, and prohibit the killing of animals where a rescue group is willing to take on their care.

“The community will never accept the killing of healthy, rehomable animals for the sake of convenience, especially when there are so many people and rescue groups who are eager to gives dogs and cats loving homes.

“My Bill has stopped the convenience killing of healthy, rehomable animals in pounds by making it mandatory for councils to work with rescue groups and to allow rescues to rehome animals on death row. Councils will also be required to take steps to advertise animals, so the public is aware these animals are available for adoption into loving family homes.

“While it is highly unusual for the Government to support a Private Member’s Bill, I am glad they have seen reason and compassion in this instance. This Bill will make small, reasonable changes that will literally save lives.

“This is the first step toward fixing the broken NSW pound system. We will continue to work with the Government on further reforms to build better pound facilities, improve standards of care, properly resource pounds and rescue groups and address the number of homeless animals making their way into pounds in the first place."
Please see comment from Alex Greenwich MP below:

Alex Greenwich MP, the independent member for Sydney, congratulated the Animal Justice Party on the passage of their first piece of legislation:

“Animal Justice Party continues to lead the way in successfully standing up for the health, well-being, and lives of animals in NSW”.
I’m proud to play a part in sponsoring and supporting their bill to ensure the practice of convenience killing in pounds comes to an end in NSW”.
Mr Greenwich thanked the government for their constructive approach to the bill.

“The Perrottet Government has been true to their word that they are open to Private Members bills with merit, and it is a significant sign of respect for the cross-bench that one of the first bills to pass in 2022 will be this private members bill”.

For the full details of the bill, visit

MEDIA RELEASE, 17th February 2022

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