Warrnambool City Council to explore other animal shelter operating models

Published on 26 March 2024

Today RSPCA Victoria advised employees and volunteers at the Warrnambool Animal Shelter it will cease operating the facility after 30 June 2024 as Warrnambool City Council has elected to investigate alternative operating arrangements.

RSPCA Victoria has operated the Warrnambool shelter for over 20 years and has a dedicated team of 15 local employees and 25 volunteers helping care for vulnerable animals.

Dr Liz Walker, RSPCA Victoria CEO and Head of Operations, Tanya Drakopoulos, met with the local team today to let them know about the change and said their focus would be on supporting the team in the coming months and ensuring a smooth transition with council.

“This is a difficult day, especially for our wonderful team of employees and volunteers at Warrnambool, 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,” Dr Walker said.

“We’re so proud of what we have achieved in our time operating the Warrnambool shelter, with the local team caring for around 1,200 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.

“We want to sincerely thank our people have made a real difference in the community through their dedication and compassion for animals.

“We’d also like to thank the local community for their support over many years and we look forward to continuing to support animal welfare in the region through our Education and Community Outreach programs, and through the work of our local Inspectors, who will continue to investigate animal cruelty reports from the area and take animals into the care of the RSPCA when required.”

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

Warrnambool City Council representatives also attended the meeting. Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason said Council would continue to work with local volunteers to support animal welfare in the region.

“This is a significant change, but Council remains committed to maintaining a shelter that has a focus on returning lost animals and re-homing those where owners’ circumstances have changed,” Mr Mason said.

“This is a Council-owned facility and in addition to looking at a new operating model Council will invest in improvements to the building over coming years.

“We thank the RSPCA for their commitment to animal welfare and also the many volunteers who are key to ensuring better outcomes for domestic pets.”

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