Wodonga pound's future in doubt

WODONGA mayor Rodney Wangman has denied the council is thinking about privatising the city’s pound; but a note in this week’s draft budget says otherwise.

The note outlines the council’s intention to “review the management and/or outsourcing of the pound”.

Dog rescue volunteer Angii Rotblat claimed this week she had been told by Cr Wangman and environment and community protection manager Mark Verbaken that the council intended to call tenders for the Kane Road site from either the Lost Dogs’ Home or RSPCA.

Cr Wangman did not respond to calls from The Border Mail yesterday seeking to clarify the note’s meaning.

Ms Rotblat, president of the Melbourne-based Vic Bull Terrier Rescue group, said the plan had been inadvertently revealed while she was trying to rescue a dog deemed aggressive towards other dogs.

The dog has since been put down, despite Ms Rotblat saying she could find it a shelter and rehabilitation.

She said when she had criticised the council for not having a policy of allowing outside rescue groups, Cr Wangman and Mr Verbaken told her the policy would not change before the council had put the pound out to tender.

Before Monday’s budget meeting, Cr Wangman said Ms Rotblat must have misunderstood their conversation, adding the pound had been allocated money in the budget.

“There was nothing about tendering,” he said.

About $52,000 has been earmarked for remedial and sewerage works at the site.

The council has denied Ms Rotblat’s claims about ­privatisation, but stopped short of ruling it out altogether.

“There are no plans before the council to start a formal tendering process for the pound at this time,” acting chief executive Trevor Ierino said.

“However, the council continuously reviews its operations and facilities to determine the best delivery model for its services and, subsequently, provide the best value for the ratepayers.”

The pound is owned by the council but run by volunteers from Wodonga Dog Rescue.

“They ought to help the people who run it run it ­properly, instead of tendering it out,” Ms Rotblat said.