Animal welfare projects across the state will benefit from grants totalling $500,000, as part of the McGowan government’s $2 million Animal Welfare Grant program.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan says the care and welfare of animals is a priority for West Australians and non-for-profit organisations play an important role in maintaining these animals.
“There has been a high level of demand for these animal welfare grants across metropolitan and regional parts of the State, highlighting the need for services which protect and care for vulnerable animals,” she says.
Cat Haven, located in Shenton Park, is one organisation that will benefit from the four year program and was awarded $33,000.
Cat Haven marketing coordinator Amber Ashford says the organisation accepts all cats and takes in more than 8000 per year.
“Every cat matters to us, so it’s really important to find them loving homes,” she says.
Cat Haven chief executive Roz Robinson says it raises 98 per cent of operating costs and the grant will alleviate the price of desexing cats.
“The extent of the desexing that we’d like to do, we just can’t do it without this sort of grant, so we’re very grateful to the state government,” she says.
Ms Robinson says prolific breeding is why desexing is so important in preventing an excess of cats and allowing people to keep their pets in compliance with cat laws.
“We’re never going to fix the cat problem, unless we can get every cat desexed,” she says.
Amid Western Australia’s current rental crisis, Ms Robinson has observed how economic disadvantage is impacting animals.
Cat Haven has seen cats being brought to their Shenton Park base in suitcases, dumped in bush and abandoned in plastic bags on the side of roads.
“There are people really suffering out there to get rental properties. They’re debating whether to buy food for themselves or their cats.”Roz Robinson
Regionally, Bridgetown Wildlife Rescue Inc will receive $19,781 to support rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife.
Organisation president Shane Williams says the overflow of wildlife under her care need more enclosures, following closure of shelters in the surrounding area, including Manjimup and Bunbury.
“At the moment I have 45 joeys, 26 birds and six possums.
“I also have home carers, volunteers that do wildlife caring from their home, I set them up with some aviaries, but they certainly need more,” she says.
Ms Williams says enclosures purchased through the grant will improve release numbers and survival rate of rescued wildlife.
“This grant means we’re going to save so many more lives,” she says.
“You can only take in as many animals as what your enclosures can hold, so this is really going to help a lot.”
Other grant recipients include Amaris Wildlife Sanctuary in the Great Southern, Shire of Derby-West Kimberley, West Australian Seabird Rescue in Peel and Possum Rescue and Rehabilitation in the south-west.
A second round of grants is now open in a $500,000 funding pool, with individual grants of up to $50,000 available for eligible groups.