News

WATCH: Council mix up costs man his 'best friend's' life

THE state animal welfare body has asked Gladstone Regional Council if it can take over the management of its pound.

It's an unprecedented move by the RSPCA, but its CEO Mark Townend said there were concerns about management, communication and kill rates at the Gladstone facility.

He says the council needed to "change its mindset" and make animal welfare a priority.

The council wouldn't say if there had been any recent cases of concern; instead saying there were procedures in place to ensure people were notified when it was necessary.

But 23-year-old Angus Leed claims he was not notified before his best friend, a purebred American staffy worth $1500 Cyris, was put down last month.

He had been in regular contact with the council since June when his dog was seized for violations of restrictions placed on him as a dangerous dog.

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Mr Leed was in Brisbane looking for work at the time and called them straight away. "They said it was fine for him to stay there (at the pound) while I organised to get him transferred to Brisbane," Mr Leed said.

"I kept double checking and they kept saying it was fine; that I would just be charged a daily rate."

Cyris and Angus Leed's son Tyler.
Cyris and Angus Leed's son Tyler.

But when Mr Leed called a council officer in August to arrange to pick up Cyris, he was told the dog had been put down. "I was distraught," Mr Leed said. "I was completely lost for words. He said he had sent me a letter warning me if I didn't respond within a certain number of days they would put him down, but I never got a letter."

The council officer also claimed he had phoned three times, Mr Leed said. "But there were no missed calls and no messages or I would have called back straight away." On September 4 the council wrote Mr Leed a letter outlining the reasons why Cyris was killed. It states a text message was sent on July 23 saying Cyris could be collected - a fact that Mr Leed disputes - and a destruction order was issued on August 18, but it was sent to the wrong address.

The letter says it was Mr Leed's responsibility to ensure his contact details were up to date.

While the council may have been following procedure, Mr Leed doesn't understand why the council officer - who he knows had his mobile phone number - didn't just call him.

He's not the only one arguing there could be improvement in the communication process.

Glen Eden residents Liz and Andrew McGreevy (pictured) spent last week frantically searching for their labrador who had escaped while they were in Bundaberg.

LUCKY ESCAPE: Liz and Andrew McGreevy spent last week frantically searching for their labrador only to find out he had been in the pound the whole time. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer
LUCKY ESCAPE: Liz and Andrew McGreevy spent last week frantically searching for their labrador only to find out he had been in the pound the whole time. Photo Helen Spelitis / Gladstone Observer Helen Spelitis

Mrs McGreevy called the council every day to check if her dog, Charlie - who is microchipped and registered - had been picked up. Every day she was told no; only to find out a week later he had been in the pound since the morning he went missing.

"I was so angry and frustrated," she said. "How could it get missed?

"They said they rang my mobile and sent me a text, but I recieved no calls or texts and I have had the same number for years.

"One of the times I rang the pound a lady said she could see my lost (advertisement) waiting to be approved; that was two days after I had tried to post it."

RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend said this could be an opportunity for a fresh start. "This council needs to realise the public only want to make sure animals are being euthanized for bad behaviour or medical reasons."

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the dog Cyris as an American staffy cross.

Topics:  animal welfare dog editors picks gladstone owner pound



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