What reducing the quarantine period really means

Published on 15 September 2022

The election is getting closer, and we need more voices. Will you add your voice? The more Animal Advocates we have the better.

Our five priorities are gaining traction and we’ll soon release our election scorecard. In the meantime, we thought you might like to know a bit more about our proposal to reduce the shelter quarantine period from 8 to 3 days.

What is quarantine exactly?
Currently, all animals who enter Victorian animal shelters or pounds must serve an 8-day quarantine period before they can be prepared for rehoming. It’s a bit like covid hotel quarantine for humans. When animals are in quarantine in shelters and pounds they are:

  • confined to a small space
  • not allowed to interact with other animals
  • difficult to exercise and their natural behaviours are curtailed by the confinement.

We know the shelter isn’t the best place for animals. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to become stressed and catch an infectious disease such as cat flu or kennel cough.

For an inside view of what quarantine looks like – check out this video filmed in our Burwood shelter…

Why 3 days?
Reducing the quarantine period from 8 to 3 days would make a big difference for vulnerable animals. It would mean mandatory procedures like desexing and microchipping could be done sooner, meaning we could start getting animals out into foster care or adoption faster – into loving homes where they belong.
Reducing the quarantine period to 3 days will also increase each shelter’s capacity to care for other vulnerable animals who need help too, which is vital as many of Victoria’s shelters are currently at capacity.

Is 3 days long enough?
According to our data, it takes an average of 1.66 days for lost dogs and cats to be reclaimed by their owners, with 87% being reclaimed within 3 days across the state. This figure is representative of both metro and regional shelters, but when considering regional shelters on their own, 85% of dogs and cats are reclaimed within 3 days. This change will not impact owners seeking to reclaim their pets, even if they are regional. Rather, it will benefit those animals that will not be reclaimed, as they have the chance to get into loving new homes sooner.

Identified v unidentified
If an animal is identifiable (is microchipped, registered or tagged), then a shelter will begin the process of “tracing” the animal’s owner immediately. This involves monitoring lost pet pages, attempting to contact all listed telephone numbers until contact is made with the owner or an emergency contact, or, if nobody is reachable on any of the listed telephone numbers an email is sent to listed email addresses and a letter is mailed to the physical address listed. However, under our proposal, from day 3 a shelter could also desex an animal, perform any procedures required pre-adoption and place it with a foster carer, though the animal could not be rehomed until day 9.

If an animal is not identifiable, then from day 3 a shelter could desex, perform any procedures required pre-adoption and foster and begin the process of rehoming the animal.

What won’t change
It’s important to note that we are not seeking an amendment to shorten the statutory period specified in the Act for stray animals to be euthanased prior to nine days. RSPCA Victoria does not believe any adoptable animal should be euthanased.

What next?
We’re continuing to meet with political parties and candidates to advocate for these reforms. Soon we’ll provide on update on where they stand.

Together we can make a difference for animals. Become an Animal Advocate here.

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