A new bill banning the ‘convenience killing’ of cats and dogs in pounds has been passed by the NSW Legislative Assembly.

The Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021, brought forward by Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party, was tabled in response to the shooting of 15 dogs and puppies by Bourke Shire Council last year.

“In NSW, tens of thousands of homeless dogs and cats are killed each year. In 2019-2020, almost 4000 dogs and 8000 cats were killed in NSW pounds. Only a very small percentage of these animals are euthanised because they are so unwell it would be cruel to keep them alive,” said Hurst.

The reforms state that before an animal is killed, councils must give written notice to at least two rehoming organisations to inform them that the animal is available for rehoming and take reasonable steps to advertise the animal as available.

Steve Coleman, CEO of RSPCA NSW, said that this is a huge step in the right direction and will help build on the work that many councils have already achieved.

“Every animal deserves a fair go at a second chance, and we can only achieve this by working together. More than anything, this bill sets up the framework for a solid network dedicated to saving more animals lives.”

Despite a relatively positive outcome, RSPCA NSW was concerned to see a last-minute change to the bill, placing the onus and financial burden of transporting the animals between facilities upon shelters and rehoming organisations.