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Council to shut down 'hoarder' animal shelter after complaints

Neighbours have complained about wandering dingoes and the smell of faeces

A controversial northern NSW animal shelter has been given notice that council plans to stop it operating on a quiet suburban street.

The “Notice of Intention to issue an Order to stop use” sent to Hooves, Feathers and Claws follows complaints by residents living near the Lowanna business who petitioned Coffs Harbour Council to intervene.

Last week, neighbours spoke to Yahoo News Australia, highlighting concerns about the stench of faeces and ongoing barking and howling associated with the business. One said friends made excuses not to visit him because of the odour and described living next door as a "nightmare".

Left - a dilapidated chair at the shelter. Right - a dog barking on top of the shelter's fence.
Neighbours living next to the shelter have complained about Hooves, Feathers and Claws. Source: Supplied

Pictures shared by neighbours show household items including dilapidated chairs and building materials strewn across the yard. A variety of animals including dingoes, dogs, cats, goats, poultry and pigs had been housed by the business.

Council’s decision is separate from an ongoing investigation by RSPCA NSW in relation to cruelty allegations.

The backyard of the shelter, shot from a neighbour's yard.
Neighbours have complained about the state of the shelter. Source: Supplied

Neighbour remains concerned about wandering dingoes

Neighbour Annie Allgood cautiously welcomed the council’s plan but said the property, which shows visible signs of “hoarding”, needs cleaning up. “There's still quite a lot of animals there – pigs, goats and dogs,” she said.

In particular, Ms Allgood remains concerned about dingoes from the shelter roaming the streets and the threat they pose to both humans and pets. A picture taken on Sunday shows two large animals standing by the road.

Two dingos standing on the roadside on Sunday.
Neighbours say they feel threatened by dingoes wandering the streets. Source: Supplied

Local woman Donna Shears, a vocal critic of the shelter, said she believes closing it would be the right decision for the community and the animals. "It was too out of control," she said. "Hopefully the animals will go on to have happy lives."

The shelter operator Rachel Press declined to comment on Thursday, but said she will “most likely” issue a statement next week. Earlier in January, she told Yahoo News Australia she was cleaning up the property and had surrendered some animals.

Council delivered its decision on Monday, giving the operator 14 days to appeal.

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