AWLQ experiencing significant reduction in animal reclaims

animal reclaims from pet shelters
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The Animal Welfare League Queensland is facing its lowest ever numbers in animal reclaims in 10 years—predominantly for dogs.

In the month of April alone, 67 dogs were impounded on the Gold Coast, with only 36 being reclaimed by their owners—the lowest reclaim rate ever in the last 10 years of reporting.

When comparing the data to the same time last year, there has been an alarming 77 per cent increase in dog surrenders and a 157 per cent increase in cats and kittens.

While incoming surrenders have increased significantly, adoption and reclaim numbers have not.

The cost of living and housing crisis is affecting pet owners and leaving them few options with many turning to AWLQ to surrender their pets. This is putting more pressure on the organisation which is desperately seeking more foster carers and donors to help care for and support the influx of animals being received.

“We’ve seen a concerning trend of pet owners surrendering their beloved companions due to issues with their rental property agreements and landlords refusing pets, as well as the rise of the cost of living,” AWLQ state rehoming manager Melinda Phipps said.

“These shouldn’t be barriers that deny pets loving homes and separate them from their families but sadly that is the current reality.”

The issue is not just isolated to the Gold Coast, as the AWLQ is also seeing a decline in reclaims at their other animal rehoming centres. More dogs and cats are being surrendered or brought in as strays because owners can no longer care for them. 

Phipps said the animals potentially aren’t being reclaimed because of the reclaim fees and ongoing cost of animal care.

Recent reforms in Queensland’s body corporate laws have aimed to create a more welcoming environment for pet owners in shared spaces. Body corporate by-laws can no longer refuse applications for pets based on number, type or size. Decisions by a committee or the body corporate regarding pets must now align with local council regulations on pet ownership.

These changes provide some hope for many who wish to keep or have a pet, yet challenges persist.

“While we commend the strides made in creating pet-friendly housing policies, there’s still work to be done,” Phipps said.

“We urge policymakers and housing stakeholders to continue their efforts in ensuring that pet ownership remains accessible to all.”

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