The State Government today announced $200,000 a year for the next four years to support animal rescue groups and shelters that each year save hundreds of unwanted and neglected cats and dogs.
Cat Haven welcomed today’s funding announcement by Premier Colin Barnett and the Minister for Local Government, John Castrilli.
The State Government pledged $75,000 a year to support Cat Haven’s work.
Mr Barnett said the funding would help encourage responsible pet ownership and, for the first time, assist shelters that rescued and cared for abandoned animals in and near Perth.
"This is a critical time of the year with many animal shelters under strain and at full capacity,” he said.
“Since 2008, the Cat Haven in Perth has rehoused more than 4000 cats while in 2011 alone, the Dogs Refuge found homes for 880 dogs.
"Some people have to relinquish pets because of situations outside of their control. However, many animals are neglected because they have resulted from poor buying decisions.
“While this funding will help ease some of the financial burden placed on our animal shelters, I urge people not to give pets as presents this Christmas to help lessen the number of abandoned animals in Western Australia.”
Cat Haven spokesman David Settelmaier described the announcement as an historic moment for the charity.
“We’re very thankful that this government is taking animal welfare seriously,” he said.
“We have been working for the welfare of Perth’s cats and kittens for more than 50 years. This funding will help us do even better.”
The funding announcement comes as Cat Haven prepares for the introduction of the State’s first cat laws, passed in 2011.
The legislation will require all owned cats over six months of age to be sterilised, microchipped and registered with a local council.
“The new cat laws represent a turning point in our work. To be able to allocate more funding towards their introduction couldn’t come at a better time,” Mr Settelmaier said.
Mr Settelmaier also praised the other funding recipients, among them SAFE and the nearby Shenton Park Dogs’ Refuge, for their tireless work for animal welfare.
“I believe this funding reflects the value the community places on our work. As long as we enjoy that support, we’ll continue to work for the welfare of the cats and kittens of WA,” he said.
Cat Haven is Western Australia’s only open-admission shelter, taking in around 8000 cats and kittens a year.
"Many of the people within our community provide a valuable service in caring for pets as volunteers and they must be congratulated for the important role they play,” Mr Castrilli said.
Local Government Minister John Castrilli said animal shelters also played an important role in educating the general public about pet responsibility.
“Animal shelters currently have places for 317 cats and 370 dogs with many more being cared for in private foster homes.
“This funding will assist these organisations with their running costs during the next four years.”
Animal shelter funding
Cat Haven, Shenton Park $75,000 per year
Dogs’ Refuge Home Shenton Park - $75,000 per year
Animal Protection Society Southern River - $12,500 per year
Swan Animal Haven South Guildford - $12,500 per year
K9 Rescue Group Nambeelup - $12,500 per year
SAFE Animal Shelters $12,500 per year (across metropolitan and regional areas)