Families’ best friends receive budget boost

Geelong MP Christine Couzens (far left), Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas (third from left), Bellarine MP Lisa Neville (centre) and Western Victoria MP Andy Meddick (far right) joined Cherished Pets representatives to celebrate a $465,000 allocation towards the delivery of an animal welfare project. (Supplied)

Animal welfare in Ocean Grove has received a boost, with more than $450,000 allocated towards a local animal care organisation in the 2022/23 state budget.

Bellarine MP Lisa Neville joined Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Geelong MP Christine Couzens at the animal care organisation to announce a $615,000 allocation to an animal welfare package, which would include a $465,000 contribution to Cherished Pets.

Cherished Pets director and founder Dr Alicia Kennedy said the allocation would support the delivery of the Geelong Pets in Crisis project, which provides a place to rest for the pets of people fleeing domestic violence or facing housing struggles.

“We are grateful for this funding, which will enable us to meet a rising demand for crisis pet care in our region for people experiencing physical and mental health or personal security challenges, while supporting the health and wellbeing of the companion animal,” she said.

Ms Neville said the funding would contribute to pet boarding facilities, which could be accessed at short notice, as well as efforts to expand the team’s veterinary social work services to better respond to complex crisis cases.

“We’re ensuring locals escaping family violence or experiencing homelessness can access immediate respite for the pets through trusted organisations,” she said.

The state government has also invested $150,000 towards the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre to expand its Pets in Crisis program, which locates pet-friendly accommodation for victims of family violence.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said ensuring families stay with their pets improves health outcomes for both the people and the animals.

“Nobody should have to make the choice between their pet and their own safety,” she said.

“That’s why we are investing in animal care organisations to give them the tools and resources to care for animals in need.”

Details: www.cherishedpetcare.com.au and www.safesteps.org.au.

Matthew Sims