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Animal Pound and Rehoming Services FAQ

Animal Pound and Rehoming Services FAQ

City of Mount Gambier was party to a Funding Agreement with South East Animal Welfare League (SEAWL) who assist Council with meeting its obligations under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 by impounding dogs seized under this legislation and holding them until such time they are reunited with their owner or sold, rehomed or disposed of post the mandatory holding period (72 hours).

These services were delivered in exchange for an annual contribution to the operating costs of SEAWL of approximately $45,000 per annum + GST.

This Agreement had been established outside of Council’s Procurement and Disposal of Land and Assets Policy and was structured in a similar format to a grant. However, given the nature of services provided and the value of the Agreement, Council was required to meet the obligations set out in its Procurement and Disposal of Land and Assets Policy and embark on a competitive tender process on a Fee for Service basis.

This Agreement expired on 30 June 2023. SEAWL was offered an extension of contract for 8 months while this process was underway, but they declined.

If you happen to find a dog or cat and it is wearing a registration tag you should visit to see if the owner has reported it missing and attempt to get in contact with them. Download DACO instructions below.

These simple steps will help to ensure that pets are returned to their rightful owners as quickly as possible.

Council officers are available 24 hours to collect wandering / lost dogs that have been restrained. Please call the Council / After Hours Call Centre on 08 8721 2555.

The City of Mount Gambier is currently exploring various options for rehoming services. The current list of options includes volunteer-run animal rescue organisations that utilise foster carers to care for the animals until they are ready for adoption, as well as other local councils that have established rehoming programs.

To effectively manage the capacity of these different organisations, Council has multiple agreements. Doing this helps address situations where these organisations reach their full capacity and are unable to accommodate any more animals. Additionally, Council is exploring the possibility of rehoming some dogs internally, within its own facilities.

Regrettably, there will be some situations where a dog may require euthanasia for health, behaviour or legislative reasons and, where applicable, Council will make this decision in consultation with a local veterinarian.

The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 requires the Dog and Cat Management Board to issue guidelines and provide advice to councils about the standard of facilities used for the detention of dogs and cats under the Act.

The Act also requires that following the seizure of a dog or cat, it must be detained in a facility approved by the Board if it cannot be returned to the owner or person responsible for it.

Council’s kennel facilities have been approved by the Dog and Cat Management Board in accordance with the Dog and Cat Management Act to hold up to four (4) dogs at any one time for 72 hours any beyond. This approval occurred on 11 July 2023.

Prior to 1 July 2023, Council had been utilising the facilities for temporary holding of dogs before transferring them for impoundment at SEAWL. This was so, where the animal had identification, they could quickly be reunited with their owner locally. For this purpose, Council had approval to utilise these facilities for a period up to 12 hours.

Once SEAWL declined the 8-month extension provided by Council, we undertook an audit of our facilities to ensure suitability for holding of dogs for the mandatory 72 hour period. This audit identified some modifications that were required, and these were undertaken prior to the transfer of these services at a cost of $813.63.

Due to a miscommunication internally, this completed audit paperwork and evidence of modifications was not provided to the Dog and Cat Management Board straight away. However, once we were alerted to this, we were able to rectify the situation with the Board and have approval in place by 11 July 2023.

For the period from 1 July 2023 11 July 2023, no dogs were held in the facilities for a period greater than 12 hours and were able to be reunited with their owners.

The Board provides the following as minimum standards of management and accommodation for council dog detention facilities:

Isolation Pens

Detention facilities must have isolation pens or agreed provisions for external isolation of animals, such as a local vet for sick animals.

Isolation pens should be physically isolated by an impervious barrier or a distance of at least 10 metres from other types of animal housing to restrict the direct or indirect transmission of disease by preventing contact between animals, their waste and other biological material (hair, saliva, and blood).

Sleeping Quarters

Detained animals must have protection from the extremes of weather. It is recommended at least one third of the pen is weatherproof and includes a bed. Dog beds should be raised off the floor. Clean bedding must be provided for all animals.

Materials and Design

Dog and cat facilities must be separated by an opaque, impervious barrier.

Pens for both dogs and cats must be fully enclosed and constructed from impervious, washable and durable materials. Impervious partitions at least 1 metre high, sealed to the ground should separate pens and exercise areas.

Floors must be constructed of impervious materials that are free of cracks or small gaps that potentially harbour infectious bacteria. The floors must be graded toward the drainage outlet.

Water, wastes or urine must not be able to pass between individual pens. Drainage must be connected to an enclosed drain or pipe to prevent an animal or person walking through it.

Ventilation, Heating and Cooling

Sufficient ventilation is required to provide adequate fresh air and to keep the detention facilities free from damp, noxious odours and draughts.

If powered ventilation is used, air must be distributed evenly throughout the facility at a comfortable rate and maintained between 15 and 27 degrees. Maintenance for the air cleaning and filtration is required to remove infectious organisms and chemicals. A back up and alarm system should be in place in the case of a power failure.

In extreme hot temperature reasonable efforts must be made to ensure the comfort of animals e.g. wet the floor of the kennel and provide a wet towel and utilise sprinklers and fans.

In extreme cold temperature reasonable efforts must be made to ensure the comfort of animals e.g. provide blankets, coats, heat lamps, and block wind.

Special care must be given to animals that are susceptible to cold i.e. geriatric, young, underweight, ill and injured animals.


Pens should have adequate natural light. If natural light is not available, lighting that duplicates natural light patterns is required.

Direct sunlight is beneficial in reducing this risk of disease and insect infestations. Shade is required throughout the day to provide respite from the sun and heat. It is worth considering sun movements prior to building a facility to capitalise on the summer shade and winter sun.

Water and Sewerage

Sufficient fresh water must be available onsite for clean animal drinking water, personal hygiene and for the cleaning of pens. It is recommended hot and cold water is available for dog handlers and detention facility operators to disinfect their hands. Hand sanitisers should be available for all staff and the public.

The disposal of faeces should be managed with a sewage or septic system. If these options are not available, faeces must be manually removed and managed in accordance with health and environmental requirements.


Special consideration must be given to security and all pens should be constructed to ensure that animals are unable to escape and should be sturdy enough that animals at risk of theft are secure. Pens should be locked and secured as required.

Where pens are constructed outdoors, a fence at least 1.8 metres, which cannot be scaled or jumped, with a lockable gate must encircle the facility.

Circumstances where humane euthanasia may be applicable, and an animal deemed unsuitable for rehoming include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) Where the dog is suffering from injury, disease or sickness to the extent that it is in the best welfare interests of that dog;

b) Where animals are vicious, dangerous, unmanageable, fearful or likely to cause harm due to their behaviour or temperament;

c) Where the dog is suffering from a serious contagious or infectious disease or sickness;

d) Where it is required under Court Order or Destruction Order in accordance with the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.

All euthanasia decisions are made in consultation with a registered veterinarian.

Humane euthanasia is undertaken by a registered veterinarian in line with the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.

Council is not actively involved in cat management to date, but the Dog and Cat Management Act is currently under review so it could become a requirement of local government in the future.

If you have any concerns in relation to a wandering cat or cat causing a nuisance please phone our General Inspectors on 08 8721 2555.

Through Council’s EOI process, we are seeking information to see what solutions might exist to assist with cat management in preparation for impending legislative change in this area. We are, however, limited on information we can provide on this requirement until legislative changes are presented and have done our best to anticipate the impact of this change through utilising research and information from the Cat Management Plan for South Australia.

With this information, City of Mount Gambier has estimated the possible requirement to manage at least 233 stray cats/ kittens per annum (based on 8.5 stray cats and kittens to every 1,000 residents).