Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Herald Sun Readers Rescue Death Row Dogs

Picture by Mark Smith

FROM death row to comfort, what a difference a new home has made for little Ellie Mae.

The Maltese cross had only days to live when the Sunday Herald Sun featured her among six death-row dogs last week.

Now all six have new loving owners and have beaten the clock which gives animal shelters 28 days to find stray animals a new home or kill them.

Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said this week the Government would end the 28-day holding rule and animals would be assessed individually, to allow shelters more time to rehome dogs and cats.

Animal welfare campaigner Mike Bailey - who organised the Stop The Clock movement - hailed it a victory for animals.

"Victoria is the only Australian state or territory to impose an arbitrary limit on how long shelters can offer animals for adoption," he said.

Ellie Mae had only four days to live when she appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun and won the heart of Pauline Edwards, 69, of Boronia.

Her granddaughter Chelsea, 8, renamed the dog Lucy and Mrs Edwards said the animal was a treasure.

"When I sit down, she comes and sits beside me," she said.

The Lost Dogs Home found homes for all six dogs.

The home's Dr Graeme Smith warned that seasonal storms and holiday fireworks sparked a surge in dogs fleeing in fright and becoming lost.

He said the home ran the national pet register and gave away free pet ID tags.

But while big shelters appear set to be freed from the 28-day rule, many small council pounds continue to euthanase animals after eight days, according to Trisha Taylor, of the Dog Rescue Association Victoria.

She said a crackdown banning smaller pounds handing over animals to dog rescuers would see many killed.

"And what will happen over Christmas at council-run pounds when the councils shut down for the holidays?" she said.

Volunteers were willing to take those animals into foster care until they could be found permanent homes, but red tape was stopping them.



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