Ballarat’s animal shelter will soon be under new management after RSPCA Victoria was dumped as the centre’s administrator.
It ends the RSPCA’s 40 years of involvement with the city’s animal shelters.
The shelter’s three-year contract, which expires in August, will not be renewed following the City of Ballarat Council’s vote to take control at its general meeting on Wednesday night.
There are 12 staff members and 20 volunteers employed by RSPCA Victoria at the site.
Council infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said there would be no significant change to staff numbers.
“We recognise the staff’s ability and we’d love to think they would like to work with us,” he said.
“We are very happy with how the RSPCA has run the facility.
“This city has always had a role with respect to the impounding of dogs and cats.”
As part of its draft plan for 2017-21 council will build a new centre, nearly twice the size of the current one, to become a regional animal shelter for neighbouring municipalities.
It will take the capacity for cats to 200, up from 100.
There will be space for 150 dogs, up from 70 at the current shelter.
Opening hours at the shelter will also be extended from 8am to 6pm as part of the change in services.
Council said in a media release that it was an interim decision until the new centre is built.
RSPCA Victoria chief executive Dr Liz Walker said the group thought it was a tremendous decision for the City of Ballarat.
“Our staff and volunteers are highly skilled and passionate about animal welfare, so we appreciate the City of Ballarat’s offer to work with us regarding their continued involvement at the shelter,” she said.
“We will continue to collaborate with the council and the community to ensure that animal welfare remains a high priority in the region.
“RSPCA Victoria will continue to operate in the City of Ballarat through Pets Place Ballarat, providing adoption, retail, grooming and veterinary services.”
Mr Demeo said planning was still in the early stages for a new animal centre and council was negotiating for a property it thought suitable.
“There are preliminary concept plans we are working on but we have not disclosed the site at this point,” he said.
“Negotiations have started on that.”
Council will also work with neighbouring municipalities to determine the best management structure for the new shelter.
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said the shelter was old and required a lot of attention.
“We want to deliver in the best possible way to the needs of the city,” she said.
“A nice facility will be more attractive for volunteers.
“We plan to build it within the four-year council term.”