Paws and Claws reaching ‘end of the road’


Mark Murray


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Paws and Claws President Michael Kerr (pictured) is 'disgusted' by the state Government's decision to block a new animal shelter at Yule Point. IMAGE: Newsport.

PAWS and Claws President Michael Kerr admits the state Government's decision to reject a bid for a new home at Yule Point could spell the end of the animal shelter.

The Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday it had refused an application from Douglas Shire Council to purchase the land and build a state-of-the-art animal facility.

Kerr said a Yule Point base was the only hope for the much loved Paws and Claws and feared the latest setback could be fatal.

“It could be the end of the road for Paws and Claws,” he said.

“We will keep fighting because we have to. There is a real chance we might have to start looking at euthanising animals now as we are paying for dogs to be in boarding at the moment because we have nowhere for them.

“We are disgusted with the Department's decision.”

Council had initially worked closely with the state Government to survey the land at Yule Point and prepare it for a potential transfer, only for them to backflip.

They claimed the site had ‘significant and sensitive environmental values’ and was an essential habitat for the endangered Southern Cassowary.

Kerr, also a Douglas Shire councillor, said this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“It (Yule Point block) is a mosquito infested dingo and wild pig scrubland,” he said.

“The Douglas Shire Council has backed this up physically with evidence proving it’s certainly not a habitat for endangered cassowaries and certainly not worth saying no to us (building a facility on it).

“It’s embarrassing that this little association (Paws and Claws) has been able to raise so much money to build a refuge, but the top of the chain in Queensland politics and all their professionals can’t get it together to find a small block of land which will save animals and actually help the environment, rather than insisting upon a block of land that’s not worth saving.”

The community organisation has already raised more than $500,000 for the new site.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu slammed the decision and warned it would be remembered 'by the ‘thousands of Paws and Claws supporters’ in the lead up to the next state election.

“It’s a ludicrous decision,” she said.

“Council has demonstrated that the Yule Point site is a suitable location for this vital community facility and clearly detailed the likely implications for native wildlife if the Department was to reject our proposal.

“I’m extremely disappointed in the decision of the Department and the Minister, but I’m even more disillusioned with the process Council has been subjected to.

“It’s a terrible decision for our community and our native wildlife."

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