A new community group has been formed in a bid to save the RSPCA shelter in Katoomba which they say morally and ethically belongs to the local community which built it.
The inaugural meeting of the Blue Mountains Association for the Protection and Care of Animals Inc (BMAPCA) was held in December.
Guest of honour at the meeting was Silvia Ford who, from 1976, took the reins of the Blue Mountains Branch of RSPCA and, with the help of volunteers, donations, bequests and two op shops, raised the funds to build the shelter on Mort Street.
Ms Ford managed the shelter until 2002 when RSPCA NSW took over. The head office sold off the two shops and, in 2014, CEO Steve Coleman threatened to close the shelter.
That decision was reversed after a public outcry but then last year RSPCA NSW lodged a development application to spend $4.4 million demolishing the 50 existing kennels and replacing them with 16 new "state of the art" kennels.
That was approved amidst further opposition from residents who argued 16 was not enough to service the community.
But in a bombshell, in July RSPCA NSW announced it was closing the shelter permanently.
Mr Coleman initially cited a "significant decrease" in the number of stray or surrendered animals coming to the shelter but later said "community opposition" had led to his decision.
The shelter is still operating as the council pound but that contract expires on June 30.
At the December meeting of BMAPCA, chairman Bob Kemnitz said there had been a groundswell of support for keeping the shelter open, including 300 signatures collected on a petition.
The group believes the shelter belongs rightfully to the Blue Mountains community and will fight to keep it open.
More information about the new group, including details about how to join, can be found at bmapca.org.au.