Skip to main content

Animal fostering and rehoming services update

Animal fostering and rehoming services update
16 August 2023

At the August 2023 Council meeting, Council resolved to continue to operate its own animal pound and partner with other animal welfare providers to foster, assess and rehome stray animals following the review of an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for animal pound and rehoming services.

In March 2023, City Council and the District Council of Grant decided to jointly commence the EOI process to better understand costs associated with animal welfare/rescue services and inform a procurement approach to deal with lost or abandoned dogs found in the city and outlying area.

“Since 1 July 2023 while the EOI process has been underway, Council has been using its existing kennel facility to operate its own pound for the mandatory 72-hour holding period. If a dog is not reclaimed within this timeframe, the animals are transferred to either a volunteer-run animal rescue organisation or a local council that has an established rehoming program,” City of Mount Gambier CEO Sarah Philpott said.

“This approach has proven to be highly effective in facilitating the safe return of dogs to their owners and finding new loving homes for those not reunited.”

At this point in time 45 dogs have been found wandering at large and of those, 42 were returned to their families without having to be impounded. Five dogs have been impounded, two were returned home, two were fostered and one has been adopted. No dogs have been euthanised.

“Council has a high reclaim rate for dogs, with 90% being reclaimed by their owners within 72 hours and of those, 85% are returned to their owner within 12 hours.”

Council has a service agreement in place with Wet Noses Animal Rescue. The group fostered Jack Russell cross puppy ‘Hector’ in July, the first dog that required impoundment at the holding facility since Council began using its kennels as a pound at the start of the month.

Hector is doing well in foster care and is now ready for adoption.
Hector 1 - Photographer: Rachael Ashman
Hector is doing well in foster care and is now ready for adoption.
Photographer: Rachael Ashman
Hector 3 - Photographer: Rachael Ashman
Photographer: Rachael Ashman
Hector is doing very well. He is proving to be very intelligent and has been going through puppy training in his foster home. He learned to sit extremely quickly! Hector has been vaccinated, microchipped and desexed and is looking for a new home through the Pet Rescue website. - Wet Noses Animal Rescue Director Marie Dukalskis

Submit an Expression Of Interest to adopt Hector here:

City and Grant Councils received one submission as part of the EOI process which was evaluated by a panel of officers from both Councils. The submission did not meet the proposed service requirements outlined for animal pound and rehoming services, and the procurement process will not progress further.

Instead, Council is in the process of establishing multiple agreements with animal rescue/rehoming organisations to effectively manage the capacity for fostering and rehoming services after the 72-hour legislated mandatory holding period under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.

In addition to providing our own short-stay holding facilities, Council’s preferred operating model for pound and rehoming services is to work in partnership with volunteer-run animal rescue organisations that utilise foster carers to care for the animals until they are ready for adoption, private pet boarding operators and other local councils that have established rehoming programs. - City of Mount Gambier CEO Sarah Philpott

“Doing this will help address situations when these smaller organisations reach capacity and are unable to accommodate any more animals. Additionally, Council is exploring the possibility of rehoming some dogs internally.”

Council is also investigating additional modifications to the holding kennel facility (which houses four dogs at a time) to allow for isolation or long-term holds when required.

Council will establish panel arrangements with suppliers who assist with the provision of animal pound and rehoming services, including veterinarians, animal behaviour trainers, boarding kennels and animal rehoming providers.

“These arrangements will be on a fee-for service basis and therefore an expense will be incurred when the service is provided, rather than providing an up-front lump sum payment,” Ms Philpott said.

“Based on impound figures from last financial year, we estimate the cost to Council this financial year will be about $10,000 less than our former agreement for animal impounding and rehoming services, but the final costs will be based on the number of animals and their specific needs.”

Council also adopted an Animal Management Unclaimed Dog Policy at the meeting.

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 0413 798 327 or