Sutherland Shire Council has received more than $200,000 in companion animal funding from the state government over the past year to help care for lost or abandoned pets.
During a visit to the council-run Sutherland Shire Animal Shelter this week, NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said the government was committed to supporting local councils as they managed companion animals in their communities.
"Each year, over 5000 cats and dogs are reported lost across NSW and its often our council pounds that are left to care for missing pets," Mrs Hancock said.
"That's why the government has committed almost $6 million from the Companion Animals Fund to our 128 local councils in 2020-21, with more than $30 million provided in the past five years."
Pet registration fees go directly to the Companion Animals Fund, which goes to local councils to pay for pounds/shelters, ranger services, dog recreation areas, and education and awareness programs.
State MP for Miranda Eleni Petinos welcomed the companion animal funding provided to Sutherland Shire Council this year.
"I'm pleased to say that this year alone Sutherland Shire Council has received over $200,000 in companion animal funding from the NSW government," she said.
"It's so important that we support our council-run shelters to help find lost cats and dogs a new home."
She joined other local state MPs, Mark Speakman (Cronulla) and Lee Evans (Heathcote) to call on residents to consider adopting a pet from the shelter this Christmas.
She said adopting a pet reduced the burden on animal shelter and reduced euthanasia rates.
Mr Evans said an added incentive of adopting a rescue cat or dog was half-price pet registration fees.
"The government is committed to encouraging pet adoptions and that's why we offer a 50 per cent discount on lifetime pet registration fees for people who rescue pets from council pounds, RSPCA shelters and rehoming organisations," he said.
"We have also reduced the lifetime cat registration fee by $10 this year to encourage higher registration rates and adoption of desexed cats from pounds and shelters."
Mrs Hancock encouraged families to 'adopt not shop' for a furry friend this Christmas.
"I encourage anyone thinking about welcoming a dog or cat into their lives or giving one as a gift to visit a council pound, an RSPCA shelter, or one of the many approved rehoming organisations across the state to rescue an animal in desperate need of a home," she said.
She said COVID-19 not only led to a spike in people buying pets but additional pressure on pounds.
Mr Speakman urged anyone considering buying or adopting a pet this Christmas to make sure they were ready for the responsibility.
"You need to be sure that you or the person you are buying a pet for can meet the long-term cost and care requirements of the animal," Mr Speakman said.