THE Ballarat City Council would not let Animal Aid inspect the Ballarat pound before the organisation tendered to operate it, board chair Fran Bailey says.
Animal Aid backed out of a deal to run the pound yesterday because of unacceptable occupational health and safety issues at the run-down facility.
Ms Bailey said she hoped their withdrawal from the contract would prompt the council to act.
She said the organisation had never been denied access to a facility before tendering for it.
“It was made very plain to our CEO that because there was another organisation running the shelter we were denied access,” Ms Bailey said.
“It’s a very unusual way to do business. We weren’t going to simply put in a tender without knowing what it was.”
Animal Aid went ahead with the tender but it was conditional on the facility meeting the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Code of Practice for pounds and shelters.
“The one thing I would hope could come out of this very unfortunate exercise is the council realises they have got to spend money on this facility,” Ms Bailey said.
In July, the council ended the RSPCA’s 45-year history with the shelter and awarded the contract to Animal Aid for three years.
City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said it was always the council’s intention to bring the facility up to the required standard.
He said the building posed no risk to public safety or the welfare of the animals.
“The works needed are repairs and maintenance to a 60-year-old building to maintain compliance with the Code of Practice,” Mr Schinck said.“To be clear, whoever won this tender would have been working with a facility that met minimum standards.”