L-R Kushla and Kenny Yamin of Ballina with Louis Pierre the French Bulldog at the opening of The Ballina Shire Council Animal Shelter, Ballina.
L-R Kushla and Kenny Yamin of Ballina with Louis Pierre the French Bulldog at the opening of The Ballina Shire Council Animal Shelter, Ballina. Patrick Gorbunovs

Animal orphans find new temporary digs with style at Ballina

LOST dogs and cats in the Ballina area now have a new luxury facility to stay in while rangers try to locate their owners.

The new $800,000 animal shelter was officially opened on Saturday, with Ballina MP joking that the phrase "being sent to the dog house" had a new meaning.

The facility is equipped to take up to 20 dogs and 12 cats, each with their own air-conditioned enclosure and a waste system designed to eliminate the possibility of disease contamination.

Mayor David Wright said the issue of being able to isolate animals was highlighted last year when there was an outbreak of Parvovirus in the region last year. He also said an upgrade to their existing facilities was needed to comply with state regulations.

Don Page, who as Minister for Local Government is responsible for the Companion Animals Act, said he had seen a lot of animal shelters in the past three years, but Ballina's was by far "the best in the state".

Mr Page said 50,000 dogs and cats had to be euthanized in NSW every year, which he said was "unacceptably high for a civilised society".

He said pet owners had a responsibility to make sure their pets were microchipped and their registration up-to-date.

Cr Wright said Ballina had a more successful rate of return than the state average. Last year 223 animals were taken to the shelter with 116 being returned to their owners, 57 re-housed, four escaped and the remaining 46 had to be put down.

The new animal shelter is located next door to the old one on Piper St.

Northern Rivers Animal Service (NRAS) have purchased the old shelter and hope to turn it into their new headquarters. NRAS is a volunteer organisation that assists in finding new homes for lost or abandoned animals.

As part of the opening festivities, Shaws Bay Veterinary Hospital put on a dog show with prizes for various categories including best dressed dog, best trick and cutest dog.


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