Paws and Claws makes firm commitment about its future


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Paws and Claws president Michael Kerr has made a firm commitment that ‘come what may’, their Craiglie facility will be open this time next year.

Kerr, who is also President of the Homeless Animal Society and the Douglas Animal Welfare Group, last night told the organisation’s annual meeting at their 6 Teamsters Close, Craiglie premises, that “we are well on the way, and by hook or by crook, I want to have this facility open by this time next year.”


It has been a long, hard ride for the animal shelter to not only find a suitable location, but after finally securing the Craiglie site, they were faced with a legal battle after five business entities waited until the 11th hour to lodge their appeal against the proposed location. The matter was resolved in favour of Paws and Claws.

“This is a bit different to last year; meeting in our own premises. Another year has passed and I'm sure you will agree that it has again been a year of turmoil, but at last two steps forward and one step back finally ended with two steps forward,” Kerr said in his president’s report.

“We settled in mediation and were gifted $500k from the Federal Government to ensure this building gets underway.

“I mentioned at a few of the AGM’s that patience is a virtue and patience is certainly something that this organisation has had plenty of. Yet another year has passed, we may not yet be opened, but we own this site without debt. 

“We have a material change of use to convert this site. And we are well on the way to lodging our building approval so we can get out there for tenders,” said Kerr.

Kerr said that in the past year, Paws and Claws has had a presence in the community through the charity shop in Mossman.

“This little shop and the community have been our saving grace. Such is its success that last month we took on the lease of the shop next door to stock the items we need and fit all the items that are constantly donated.

“Last year, the charity shop took over $66,000 in sales, making over $18,000 in clear profit after expenses.

“This year we also hosted our first Gala Dinner which by all accounts was a successful evening raising just over $11,000 through the donation from The Sheraton Grande, Auctions and raffle on the night. This was made possible through a grant funding of $10k by DSC.”

Kerr said since closing the refuge in 2016, $16,000 has been donated through the little money boxes seen around town.

“Since we closed in late 2016, more than $146,000 has been donated to the association; mostly when we put out the call for help; and includes $91,000 from two very generous people. 

“We have received a $250,000 donation from Cairns Animal Welfare, a $300,000 State Government contribution and most recently the $500,000 Federal Government contribution.

“This is not too bad for a small Far North Queensland animal rescue group, and shows the community’s desire to have this facility opened as soon as possible and clearly has assisted us getting to where we are now,” said Kerr.

Kerr said the membership base had unfortunately dwindled in the past couple of years causing the organisation to come up with reduced membership to encourage people to sign up again. Since the reduced membership, it has grown by 84 new members.

He said the conversion of the Craiglie building hasn’t come without its headaches and thankfully “we have come across a group who specialise in this area who have helped us create what will be a state-of-the-art facility for both the enclosed animals, and the staff and volunteers that operate the refuge.”

“To some it may seem like: what’s the delay?, but the specifics of dealing with multiple engineers such as hydraulics for water, waste and cleaning; electrical engineers for adequate power supplies; mechanical engineers, to ensure the correct air exchange and temperatures; and of course acoustic engineers that have managed to give us an animal refuge in the middle of an industrial estate that meets conditions imposed on us and will be quieter than a domestic house; all comes with a cost.

“We must also thank those businesses who have been working with us: Daniel Voss Architect; Sequal Consulting Group; Brad Pinches Consulting; Gilboy Hydraulic Solutions; and GMA Certification Group,” said Kerr.

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