News from Vic: StopTheClock: Abolish Victoria’s 28 Day Deadline for Shelters is a campaign to abolish the ’28 Day Rule’ imposed on Victorian shelters. 

Victoria is the only state in Australia that enforces a time limit on pounds and shelters looking to find new homes for dogs and cats. The following item in the Code of Practice results in the unnecessary killing of many cats and dogs for no reason other than to comply with the Code:

“The maximum time any animal selected for sale can be held at a shelter is four weeks.  At the conclusion of this period, the animal must be euthanased or permanently removed from the facility, for example, by placement in a foster program.”

Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds 2.3.7
This restriction is unprecedented and uncalled for. No other Australian State or Territory imposes such a restriction on shelters and it is virtually unheard of in the U.S.   Shelters are capable of assessing what is in the best interests of each individual animal. All Melbourne shelters polled said they would welcome the removal of this restriction.

This restriction only applies to unowned animals. The Codes of Practice for both breeding and boarding facilities do not set a time limit on how long animals can stay. In the case of puppy farms, a breeding bitch can spend her entire life in isolated confinement with minimal human contact or exercise required by the Code. Shelter staff find it demoralising being required to kill healthy, adoptable animals simply to comply with the Code.  

It’s not in anyone’s interest to have a rule in place that results in the destruction of healthy adoptable pets. Shelters can be trusted to assess the needs of the individual dogs and cats they deem suitable for rehousing. Progressive shelters are using volunteers to provide exercise and enrichment for animals, providing foster care in a home environment and using volunteers to walk dogs and play with cats.

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