RSPCA to cease operating Wangaratta animal shelter after 31 July

Published on 23 June 2023

Thank you to the local team and the community for many years of support

Today RSPCA Victoria advised employees and volunteers at the Wangaratta Animal Shelter that it will cease operating the facility after 31 July. Rural City of Wangaratta has not renewed its contract with RSPCA for animal pound services.

Sadly, a dedicated team of local people is affected by this change, including 9 part-time and 10 casual RSPCA staff members whose employment will end, 22 on-site volunteers and 41 foster carers.

RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Operations, Tanya Drakopoulos, met with the team to let them know and said the focus is on supporting them in the coming days and weeks, while ensuring the continued provision of pound and animal sheltering services for the Rural City of Benalla under a separate existing contract.

“This is a difficult day, especially for our wonderful team of employees and volunteers at Wangaratta, some of whom have been with us for a long time, and all of whom have made a real difference for animals in the local community,” said Ms Drakopoulos.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved in our nearly 20 years of operating the Wangaratta shelter. Our local team has cared for around 1000 animals each year providing shelter, food, vet care and giving as many as possible the chance to be fostered or adopted into loving new homes.

“Our people have made a real difference in the community through their dedication and compassion for animals and we want to sincerely thank them today.

“We also want to thank the local people and organisations who have supported RSPCA Wangaratta for many years, including as animal adopters, foster carers and donors.”

RSPCA Victoria is working with the Rural City of Wangaratta to ensure a smooth transition of the pound service. The decision was made by Council after it completed a review and a formal tender process for the delivery of its animal pound services contract and awarded the contract to Albury Pound and Animal Care Centre.

For many years RSPCA Victoria has been subsidising the cost of operating the shelter and it recently opted to move to a cost neutrality model for all its council contracts. This allows the animal charity to invest its limited resources in areas and work where it can have the greatest impact for animal welfare.

“RSPCA thanks the local community for its support over many years and looks forward to continuing to support animal welfare in the region through its partnership with the Rural City of Benalla and Rural City of Wangaratta in animal education and welfare programs. Our Inspectors will continue to investigate animal cruelty reports in the region and take animals into the care of the RSPCA when required.”

Speaking on behalf of the Council, Stephen Swart, Director of Sustainability and Culture said: “Rural City of Wangaratta appreciates the contracted services provided by RSPCA to date but after conducting a rigorous tender process for the provision of pound and animal sheltering services, will not be renewing the contract with RSPCA. Rural City of Wangaratta will continue to partner with RSPCA on animal welfare programs into the future.”

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