It would seem that more people want to adopt a companion animal since the COVID-19 restrictions began in late March.
Wingecarribee Shire Council's animal shelter has experienced an increase in adoption inquiries.
On the flip side there have been less than normal stray animals picked up by council rangers and taken back to the shelter.
The latest information comes as Local Government minister Shelley Hancock announced $500,000 funding under the Council Pound Grant Program (CPGP).
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The funding aims to ensure councils and their service providers continue to operate as they adjust to new procedures introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement is good news for Wingecarribee Animal Shelter as it implements social distancing measures for staff.
Volunteer support has also stopped since the start of the pandemic.
While the number of animals available for adoption has dropped, the shelter staff continue to be busy caring for animals that are on the premises.
A council spokesperson said there were currently no dogs available for adoption.
However, they said they had one that had almost completed his holding period and one dingo waiting to go to rescue.
If a dog is microchipped, they are held for 14 days by law or 21 days with a letter to the owner, before the animal can be available for re-homing. If a dog is not microchipped they are held for seven days.
Once the holding period is over the animals are then assessed for re-homing, which includes behavioural testing, a vet check, de-sexing and microchipping.
The spokesperson said that Wingecarribee Animal Shelter aimed for minimal euthanasia shelter.
"We do everything to re-home animals," they said.
The spokesperson said shelter staff had also seen a very positive increase in cat adoptions.
They said there was currently only one cat and one kitten available for adoption.
"A further two cats and one kitten will become available in the coming days," they said.
The spokesperson said the biggest challenge at the moment involved maintaining social distancing.
"This can have a knock-on effect to the people coming in to reclaim animals as they may have been asked to wait in a queue outside the Resource Recovery Centre prior to coming into the Shelter," the spokesperson said.
In addition there are no volunteers and carers currently working at the Shelter due to the risks associated COVID-19.
"The average age of many of our volunteers would also place them in the high risk category," the spokesperson said.
The Council Pound Grant Program will provide a minimum of $4000 and up to a maximum of $28,000 to be paid to councils for pounds.
The funding would be a welcome boost to the Wingecarribee shelter which had experienced a drop in donations of food, toys and funding for the animals since the start of the pandemic.
"This is not unexpected due to the need for social distancing and the requests to minimise non-essential travel," the shelter spokesperson said.
While some things have changed pet adoptions from the shelter are still encouraged.
"Wherever possible, we are asking people to make appointments prior to coming in to view the animals," the spokesperson said.
"We have put restrictions on surrendered animals, however, we still accept surrendered animals in the case of emergencies."
Ms Hancock said the Council Pound Grant Program funds could also be used to undertake capital works including minor site upgrades, maintenance works or the purchasing of new equipment to ensure that pounds remain viable and functional.
"Funding will be available to all council run pounds across the state, to ensure they run as close to normal as possible and the welfare of animals in their care is maintained," Ms Hancock said.
"I encourage anyone thinking about welcoming a pet into their home on a forever basis to visit a NSW council pound or one of the many approved re-homing organisations across the State and rescue an animal in desperate need of a home."
The increase in pet adoption at Wingecarribee Animal Shelter is in line with a national jump.
According to PetRescue.com.au pet adoptions have reached record levels with 1.5 million Aussie animal lovers searching the site during March and April, resulting in a total 14,893 pets finding new homes.
Details about pet adoption at Wingecarribee Animal Shelter:
- Opening hours - Weekdays 10am to 4pm; weekends 10am to midday. Closed public holidays
- Phone number - 4868 1520
- Surrenders are via appointment only
Do you have a rescue pet? We would love to see your pictures. These can be sent to email@example.com