Animal funds

New solution for animal welfare in Victoria

The Victorian government is looking to boost animal de-sex services as pet ownership rises in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councils and nonprofits can apply for a share of a $500,000 pool to fund low-cost de-sex services for cats and dogs.

The second round of the Animal Welfare Fund has been launched to help address the pandemic-induced increase in pet ownership.

Almost three in four Australian households have a pet, with the proportion of households owning a pet rising from 61% to 69% in the past two years.

Cats appear to be the main target of the scheme, with the government warning that felines can start breeding at four months and have up to three litters a year. A female and her offspring are capable of producing thousands of kittens in just a few years.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the funding would help provide essential desexing services and improve animal welfare.

“We know how important pets are to all Victorians,” she said.

In March last year, Westside Community Desexing in Melbourne received $150,000 in the first round of the fund.

His new clinic has de-sexed nearly 5,000 cats since it opened in December.

Clinic director Penny Hocking said desexing was the most cost-effective solution to cat overpopulation.

It comes as the Victorian government opens a separate $500,000 grant scheme for horse rehabilitation, repatriation and rescue.