Katoomba animal shelter thrown a lifeline

An animal welfare group has offered to take over the Katoomba animal shelter while criticising the NSW RSPCA's decision to close the facility.

In a statement issued on July 9, SoCares (Society of Companion Animal Rescuers) expressed interest in operating the shelter and retaining its eight staff members, but only if the NSW RSPCA agreed to lease the site to Blue Mountains City Council "for a peppercorn rent" - a scenario the Gazette understands is unlikely to eventuate.

If such an arrangement did go ahead, "SoCares would then manage and operate the facility, under a long-term contract, to ensure that the people of the Blue Mountains - and above all the animals - are given the service and respect which they deserve," SoCares vice president David Atwell said.

"We operate across much of NSW with 30 rescue groups as members along with our Wyong animal care facility.

"The RSPCA is not the only animal welfare group capable of operating a successful shelter.

"This decision by the RSPCA [to close the Katoomba shelter] has left everyone stunned ... the people of the Blue Mountains have every right to be angered at this decision."

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill confirmed council received a letter from SoCares on July 5 "offering their services to operate the shelter".

"The SoCares offer appears to be dependent on the RSPCA agreeing to sell or lease the facility to council for a nominal fee, with council assuming on-going responsibility for the property," Clr Greenhill said.

"Unfortunately, the RSPCA is not offering this."

The Gazette invited the NSW RSPCA to respond to the views expressed in SoCares' statement.

"We're always receptive to any reasonable offer or request," NSW RSPCA chief executive officer Steve Coleman said.


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