Latrobe City Pound conditions questioned

A Morwell pet-owner has questioned the conditions of the Latrobe City Pound following what he described as the deterioration of his dog while residing in the facility.

Steve Caldwell’s beloved American bulldog, Tyson, was impounded in March after escaping from his enclosed property, following a storm which Mr Caldwell said “snapped our steel gate clean off its hinges”.

But it’s what he says occurred once Tyson was impounded that brings him to tears.

Mr Caldwell said Tyson’s health quickly deteriorated from a “healthy 70 kilograms” to 24kg in the space of a couple of months while in the pound.

The dog had been detained for such a long period of time as it killed a cat after escaping Mr Caldwell’s property and the matter was under investigation.

Tyson was euthanised due to illness last month.

“They rang me one-and-a-half hours before the vet was due to come and put him down,” Mr Caldwell said.

“He’d only been there a couple of months – he was a healthy dog when he came in.”

Mr Caldwell said another of his dogs had developed bed sores after a recent pound visit, which were only just starting to heal.

“The pound was shocking, really shocking,” Mr Caldwell said.

“The smell, I don’t know how they get away with it actually, it was absolutely freezing and they were hosing the enclosures down with water while the animals were in there.

“It can’t be good for the animals, the conditions in there nobody else would get away with. The other animals there didn’t look all that great either.”

Latrobe City general manager of city development Phil Stone said Mr Caldwell had regular contact with animal management staff while his dog was impounded.

He said because Mr Caldwell’s dog was seized for being involved in an attack resulting in the death or serious injury to an animal it could be held pending placement of a dangerous dog declaration.

He said council took pride in ensuring that animals within its care were well looked after, including Mr Caldwell’s dog who received medical treatment throughout his stay.

“All animals housed within the pound are checked a minimum of twice per day on weekdays and once per day on weekends and public holidays to ensure their safety and welfare,” Mr Stone said.

“If an animal is found to be showing signs of sickness or injury at any time, they are immediately referred to one of council’s contracted veterinarians for attention.”

He said pound staff were responsible for ensuring animals were fed and inspected daily, while their bedding, litter trays and housing areas were routinely cleaned.

Dogs serving an initial eight-day impound period are generally not exercised by staff.

“However, dogs held for extended periods are exercised regularly, with the exception of timid or aggressive dogs, where safety must be considered,” Mr Stone said.

The facility undergoes external auditing by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources – last conducted in July 2015 – and Mr Stone said internal checks were also in place.

“Department staff carried out a site inspection of the pound and housed animals two weeks ago and no welfare or housing issues were identified,” Mr Stone said.

“Staff take all care to ensure that animals are comfortably housed in a clean environment.”