The founder of a volunteer cat rescue group has been threatened with legal action by Hobsons Bay council if he takes an animal to The Lost Dogs Home.
Western Suburbs Cat and Kitten Rescue’s Nathan Miles received a letter dated March 29 from Hunt & Hunt lawyers acting for the council stating that he could be fined $792.85 for delivering an animal to the home.
The letter stated that “in accordance with section 84D of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (the Act), any dog or cat seized must be given to council immediately and it is an offence not to do so”.
Mr Miles said he was absolutely not breaking the law and the suggestion was absurd.
“They’ve sent a letter to me, and also The Lost Dogs Home, which is really bullying and threatening saying that basically they want the animals delivered to the Hobsons Bay civic centre and not The Lost Dogs Home, despite them utilising The Lost Dogs Home as a service provider under 84Y of the act,” he said.
“The civic centre is designed for paying bills not for dumped, neglected animals to be taken in and processed.
“The legislation clearly states that any person who seizes an animal must as soon as reasonably possible deliver it to an authorised officer of that council ‘or to a person or body which has an agreement under section 84Y with that council’.
“The Lost Dogs Home has a service agreement with the council, therefore, it is completely legal to drop it [an animal] there.”
The Lost Dogs Home animal welfare general manager Dr David Cunliffe said it was not an offence for a stray cat from Hobsons Bay to be brought in.
“The Lost Dogs Home won’t refuse to accept or care for stray animals found in the Hobsons Bay area, but is required to secure an address where the animal was collected,” he said.
“The right process is for a person to notify the council first. Registered animals may be returned directly to the owner by the council if possible, but if not, they are taken to the pound.”
Hobsons Bay council’s corporate services director Tammi Rose said in accordance with the act, “any dog or cat seized must be given to council immediately”.
“That being said, council does have an agreement with The Lost Dogs Home that allows them to accept dogs on council’s behalf, however, council’s procedure [as outlined in the letter to Mr Miles] is that council be notified in the first instance of any animal seized and preferably be the point of drop off. Council officers then manage the process, with the goal of returning the animal to its home.”
Maribyrnong council’s website directs people with a stray animal to contact its officers for collection or “you can take the animal to The Lost Dogs Home in North Melbourne, which works with council to reunite animals with their owners or rehome them.”