The Ballarat City Council has improved fire access and ventilation issues at the ageing and neglected Ballarat pound but not the accommodation for large animals.
Almost two months have passed since Animal Aid backed out of a deal to run the shelter because of unacceptable occupational health and safety issues, including no emergency fire exit and inadequate accommodation for large animals.
The RSPCA, which has been running the pound for 45 years, is continuing to operate the facility for the next few months at the council’s request.
The City of Ballarat’s city infrastructure director Eric Braslis said the council had completed “routine maintenance” including improvements to the building’s fire access and ventilation.
“The floors at the facility will also be resealed by December this year,” he said.
“There has always been adequate accommodation for large animals.”
The Courier also asked the council how much it intended to spend on maintaining and fixing the facility in its current budget.
Mr Braslis only said the cost of the works “had been met through the council’s asset maintenance program”.
The RSPCA’s initial tender was considered non-compliant because it refused to upgrade the council-owned facility at its own cost.
In August, Animal Aid board chair Fran Bailey said she hoped their withdrawal from the contract would prompt the council to act.
“I can’t understand, quite frankly, how it’s been allowed to be left in that way. It’s going to take a lot of money to improve it,” Ms Bailey said.
“When we visited, we saw large animals in those small cages and that’s not our way of doing things.
“We’ve got staff working with animals and there is no emergency exit. We think that is unacceptable for the safety of the animals and staff.”
But 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.