TOUGH TIME: Maryborough Animal Refuge president Maureen England with five-year-old Boofy who is up for adoption.
TOUGH TIME: Maryborough Animal Refuge president Maureen England with five-year-old Boofy who is up for adoption. Alistair Brightman

Shelter shuts kennels after being hit by council restructure

AFTER battling through a "rough couple of years", Maryborough's animal refuge has been hit by staff cuts and service reductions.

Following a change to Fraser Coast Regional Council's animal management operations, Maryborough and District Animal Refuge president Maureen England said three staff members had been made redundant.

The centre has also suspended its dog-boarding service.

Ms England said the shelter was going back to basics by focusing on rescuing and re-homing animals.

"While on paper dog boarding presents as a healthy income figure, the staff labour costs alone of generating this income have far outstripped the benefit of this activity," she said.

"We need to be able to restructure our services so we are not going to become insolvent.

"We will be losing some amazing people who have poured their hearts and souls into running the refuge.

"The refuge and the community in Maryborough are much poorer for not having their expertise in the facilities."

Previously the refuge was able to source animals from the council's Maryborough Pound.

However for the past five months, animals impounded at Maryborough have been transported to Hervey Bay at the close of each day.

While the refuge can still claim impounded animals, Ms England said the council had implemented a new dog adoption policy where all impounded dogs deemed suitable for re-homing were now being offered exclusively at the Fraser Coast Adoption Centre at Hervey Bay for 28 days before being offered to other rescue groups.

This means although the refuge receives animals who are healthy and vet treated, vaccinated and desexed, they are animals who have already struggled to find new homes.

"We bring them up here and they sit in our kennels, we can't get easily re-homable dogs any more," she said.

"We can get dogs which people come and surrender to us but those dogs usually cost us money to re-home because they often need desexing and extensive vet work."

The Maryborough pound and MDAR occupy the same piece of land but operate as separate entities.

The council's executive manager for regulatory services Megan Savill said with regards to animals for adoption, the council needed a holding period to meet a range of legislative requirements and to have adequate time for temperament and suitability assessment prior to re-homing.

"The council is working with the various refuge organisations and rescue groups to develop Memorandum of Understandings to ensure clear expectations, greater equity amongst the groups and improved transparency," she said.