EXTENSIVE work has been completed inside Ballarat’s RSPCA Victoria shelter after it was found to be non-compliant with health and safety standards last year.
City of Ballarat’s city infrastructure general manager Eric Braslis said infrastructure works had been carried out at the shelter, including the replacement of doors, installation of steel sheet panels to cage doors, servicing of the ventilation system and re-sealing the floor surface.
The Courier reported last August that the RSPCA was meant to vacate the Gillies Street South premises after the city awarded a three-year animal shelter and pound services tender to Victorian Animal Aid Trust in July.
However, Animal Aid backed out of the deal a week before it was due to go ahead, citing occupational health and safety issues at the site, including no emergency fire exit and inadequate large animal accommodation.
Animal Aid was not allowed to access the building before the tender process.
Mr Braslis said the city was in the process of considering options for the animal shelter and pound services and hoped to resolve the issue in the coming months.
The RSPCA, which has been running the facility for 45 years, has continued as the pound’s operator following a council request last year.
Mr Braslis said all exits now complied with essential safety measure requirements and modifications to existing pens for additional large dog housing were completed at the beginning of this year.
RSPCA spokeswoman Caitlin Barratt said the RSPCA would continue to operate shelter services at the site until the tender was officially awarded by the council.
She said the RSPCA had put forward a new tender to continue running the animal shelter.
The RSPCA’s initial tender was considered “non-compliant” because it refused to upgrade the council-owned facility at its own cost.
“Should RSPCA be successful in our tender, we will continue to operate our shelter services as normal,” Ms Barratt said.
“Throughout this period, the animals in our care remain our utmost priority, as do our staff and volunteers.”