A NEW purpose-built pound is expected to deliver better outcomes for stray animals in Bathurst, with rehoming to be the primary focus.
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The Bathurst Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC) will replace the existing Bathurst Small Animal Pound on Vale Road, with the new facility to be located in the Kelso industrial area.
Construction is in its final stages at the Hampden Park Road site and Bathurst Regional Council anticipates it will be open by the end of 2022, provided there are no further delays.
There is a lot of excitement about the new facility, which includes multiple buildings that will allow staff to better care for strays and surrendered animals.
While council staff have always wanted to find homes for animals whenever possible, it will be much easier to make this the focus as a result of some of the inclusions of the new facility.
Among them is the outdoor adoption pavilion, which will give prospective pet owners a private and comfortable space to get to know the animals they're interested in taking home.
Council's director of Environmental, Planning and Building Services, Neil Southorn, said this is a "critical" element of the new facility.
"The adoption pavilion is one of the most critical elements of our customer experience, where people looking to adopt a pet will have a really nice space and safe environment where they can interact with their possible new pet, get to know them and see if they're the right fit for their family," he said.
Mayor Robert Taylor is proud of the increased focus that there will be on rehoming animals as a result of the new facility.
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"Rehoming them is to save their lives, to get them back out into the community and into homes where they'll be well received," he said.
In general, BARC offers a "significant increase in capacity for cats and dogs" to be housed compared to the existing facility.
BARC can accommodate in excess of 40 dogs in their own building in addition to a large cattery, which is more than twice the capacity of the current pound.
The dog enclosures are larger than what is offered on Vale Road, and include portions with underfloor heating.
There are also three enclosures specifically for dangerous dogs, and space outdoors to accommodate other animals that sometimes end up at the pound, such as sheep.
"We worked very closely with the architects to ensure we met or exceeded all the relevant animal welfare standards," Mr Southorn said.
"The areas will be easier to clean and disinfect and maintain hygiene to the highest possible standard, and facilities like exercise areas for the animals will be far superior to those we have presently."
BARC will also have its own veterinary treatment room, allowing a vet to come to the centre to assess and treat animals instead of the animals having to be transported into town to be looked at.
Like with the existing pound, BARC won't be manned full-time, but there will be better after hours cages to contain animals dropped off overnight.
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On-site security will be far superior as well.
The main building will also have administration and office space so all staff involved with the operation of BARC can work from the Hampden Park Road site.
With a larger facility, council will be hiring more people to join the team.
Council is advertising for the BARC coordinator and recently closed applications for animal attendant roles, which generated a lot of interest.
"It will be animal attendants who are predominately under taking the animal care and our rangers will focus more on duties outside the facility out in the community," Mr Southorn said.
"[The interest in applications] shows there are a lot of people in the community who prioritise animal care and really want to work with animals, so we're hoping to bring together a really dedicated team for this facility."
Once the facility is up and running, a volunteer program will be established to provide further opportunities for residents to assist with the care and rehoming of animals.
Cr Taylor said this will be the biggest animal rehoming centre on this side of the Blue Mountains, calling it a "five-star facility".
BARC is a multimillion dollar facility and has been jointly funded by Bathurst Regional Council, the NSW Government and the Australian Government.
Mr Southorn said there will be a transition period once the new facility is complete, with it and the Vale Road site to be used simultaneous until all the animals are safely moved.
Council has yet to decide what will happen to the old pound site once it is no longer operational.
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