Temporary cut rate on vet services for poor

PENSIONERS and Health Care Card holders will be able to desex their cats, dogs, kittens and puppies at a discounted price under a new Gladstone Regional Council policy.

The council voted on Tuesday to introduce a RSPCA Portable Animal Welfare Service unit to provide the surgery at discounted prices for one week a year.

Next year, the council intends to develop other options that ensure pet desexing is taken up by as many residents as possible.

Councillor Karen Porter told the council's general meeting the introduction of the PAWS unit was a good first step but did not go far enough.

"The council needs to take more proactive steps to tackle the number of feral animals," she said.

Councillor Col Chapman also spoke in favour of the motion to approve the PAWS Unit and later told The Observer that de-sexing would reduce the number of unwanted animals and feral cats and result in less impounded and euthanased animals.

"Once a resident desexes their cats and or dog, there are also substantial savings in the registration fees and savings of up to $80 per animal per year," he said.

The PAWS unit would likely be available for one week only, Cr Chapman said.

"It is designed to give access to those that cannot afford the cost of desexing their cats, i.e. pensioners and holders of a health card," he said

Mr Chapman said the council's officers would liaise with local veterinary clinics about the potential to establish a voucher system for the public to desex their cats.

Cr Chapman said he would welcome community feedback on how best to reduce the number of feral cats, and their impact on native animals.