Rescue service wins fee battle

Volunteers Deidre and Dekoda Keogh with two of the cats from the rescue service, Curly a 16-week-old domestic shorthair, and Flip a 12-week-old domestic shorthair. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Volunteers Deidre and Dekoda Keogh with two of the cats from the rescue service, Curly a 16-week-old domestic shorthair, and Flip a 12-week-old domestic shorthair. Picture: TARA GOONAN

WODONGA’S sole pet rescue group has been granted a reprieve from a fee rise that could have forced it to close its cat re-homing program.

Wodonga Dog Rescue volunteer Deidre Keogh issued a notice on the group’s Facebook page late on Wednesday that they could no longer accept surrender cats or rescue them from Wodonga pound because of the increased cost of desexing, microchipping and vaccinating.

But an outpouring of support on social media and some keen negotiation by the service yesterday saw the city’s vets agree to retain the original price structure.

The outcome was a huge relief for Ms Keogh, who has spent so much time in volunteering at the pound’s cat room, it’s now affectionately named “Deidre’s Den”.

“It’s a small win, we work hard at what we do and there is a huge call for it,” she said.

Her efforts have seen cat adoption rates rise from just four in 2010, to 214 last year (67 were put down).

The service pays $231 for female cats and $189 for male cats, but had been told this would be rising to $254 and $202 respectively.

That cost covers desexing, microchipping, vaccinations and registration — all of which are compulsory under Victorian law.

Wodonga Council charges $46 for registration with the remaining cost going to Wodonga’s vets, Melrose Animal Hospital and Family Vet Centre, who provide services at a discounted rate.

But this price rise would have been too much to absorb for the service, which charges just $200 to adopt a cat.

“With donations and fund-raising we can just scrape through but at $254 it just would have put us out of the running,” Ms Keogh said.

Ms Keogh said the group had considered charging more but it had to be competitive with other rescue groups — $200 is the standard cat adoption fee on both sides of the border.

There was also the added challenge of competing with NSW, where cats do not have to be desexed before sale, making them cheaper to buy.

Melrose Animal Hospital veterinarian Rohan Goyne said this was part of the reason the vets had agreed to not raise prices.

“The whole aim is to try to limit the number of unwanted litters that come through,” he said.

“While people aren’t getting their cats desexed we’ll continue to have an oversupply.

“People also need to see that, if purchasing their cats through Wodonga Dog Rescue, they are getting everything at that price, which is quite cheap.”

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