Toyah's puppy love immortalised at new Paws and Claws


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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ECSTATIC: Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, Michael Kerr, Kerri Bos, and Wayne 'Prong' Trimble with Miracle the corgi at the new Paws and Claws site in Cariglie. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.

The memory of Toyah Cordingley’s love for animals will be immortalised at the new Paws and Claws facility which received a half a million dollar funding injection today.

After 12 years of fighting to keep the animal shelter and refuge open, today Douglas Councillor and Paws and Claws President, Michael Kerr, gratefully accepted a $500,000 grant from Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.

As part of the fit-out of the site on Teamsters Close in Craiglie, a room for the puppies at the shelter will be named the ‘Toyah Puppy Room’ and will feature a hand-painted mural of the young woman to watch over the pups in the refuge’s care. 

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Toyah was a regular volunteer at Paws and Claws as well as at other animal refuges around the region and her love for animals is well known by the community.

“Toyah was an integral part of the old facility so she had to be recognised so as a committee we thought what a better way than to have something to do with the puppies,” Mr Kerr said.

“She loved the puppies and we thought a beautiful mural with the sunflowers in the puppy area so she can overlook them and have a nice monument in the front garden so everyone that comes in here will see her and know who she was and remember who she was.”

A close friend of Toyah’s family, Wayne ‘Prong’ Trimble, was present at the announcement to speak on behalf of Toyah’s parents.

“I can tell you for sure they are very appreciative of what is happening here and they will definitely come up once it’s all finished and have a look,” he said.

Mr Trimble said the ongoing support from the community means the world to the family and the memorial at Paws and Claws had their complete support. 

“They told me this morning they are over the moon something will be here permanently for Toyah and they are also really pleased about the complex here for the animals,” he said.

“They are really happy with the way it’s going to unfold.

“This kind of support definitely keeps them going; we are never going to give up.”

The Paws and Claws animal shelter a refuge’s new site will have a full-sized cattery and kennels for up to 38 dogs along with a grooming area, kitchen, isolation areas and office and admin space.

Mr Kerr said securing the location for the refuge and fighting a legal battle to hold on to it has all been worth it to get to this point.

“Warren and I have been speaking about this for well over a year and a half, this has been an ongoing discussion and it has only been since we got the approval through the mediation process that we have been able to have this serious discussion,” he said.

“This is mind-blowing for us; a journey that has been fought for so long and finally we can take a positive step forward a know there are no more negatives, it’s very exciting for the association.”

The Paws and Claws committee has started putting the money to good use with electrical and hydraulic engineers having assessed the property so far.

Mr Kerr said once the building approval has moved through council and the job is out for tender, he is hoping the new refuge will be complete in 12 months.

The old Paws and Claws facility saved about 200 dogs a year from being euthanised.

Mr Entsch said he was delighted to be able to provide the funding to the shelter and said it’s been a long time coming.

“It has been a long journey for Paws and Claws, a 12-year journey trying to find a home,” he said.

“There have been so many false starts and unfortunately the neglect of animals continues, so there was certainly a sense of urgency.

“With the tragedy of Toyah in recent months and her association with Paws and Claws was very well known and her love for animals, particularly dogs, is something very special so it is time to get the job finished.

“Also, there is always plenty of spots for volunteers so come talk to the wonderful people here and make a difference.” 

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