STAFF at RSPCA Bendigo will be out of a job on July 1 as the council takes over pound services.

For more than 20 years, RSPCA Victoria has worked with the City of Greater Bendigo to provide an animal shelter and through a contract, pound services for the local Bendigo area.

Their contract expires on June 30, and council will take over the operation of pound services.

This decision was made following discussions about changes to RSPCA Victoria’s fee structure.

RSPCA Victoria’s Tegan McPherson said the planned changes to the fee structure were to ensure cost recovery from contracted services, which has not been the case in Bendigo.

“These changes ensure the sustainability of our organisation so that we can continue to invest in ending cruelty to all animals from now into the future,” Ms McPherson said.

“It is vital that we can provide important animal welfare services and programs across the state in the long term. 

“We are mindful that this is a difficult time for local staff members and volunteers.”

The council will establish its own staff structure to operate the pound, and RSPCA Victoria staff and volunteers will be able to apply for roles but will not be directly transitioned to the council’s team.

Ms McPherson said where this is not possible, RSPCA Victoria will provide ongoing support to staff and volunteers during this transition period. 

“Staff will also be supported in identifying and securing redeployment opportunities within the organisation where this is appropriate,” Ms McPherson said.

Safe and Healthy Environments manager Caroline Grylls said the council does not anticipate any change to the level of service by providing it in-house.

“Come July it will be business as usual at the pound and animal shelter and all of the services currently provided will still be available,” Ms Grylls said.

“The council brought its animal ranger services back in-house in 2013 without any major changes to the service and we expect the return of the pound and animal shelter services to be a similar experience.

“While we expect there will be some significant set up costs in terms of compliance, accommodation and staff recruitment we are planning on delivering an efficient and cost effective service in the future.”

– Steve Kendall