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New fix for animal welfare in Victoria

The Victorian government is looking to boost animal desexing services as pet ownership grows in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councils and not-for-profits can apply for a slice of a $500,000 pool to fund low-cost desexing services for cats and dogs.

The second round of the Animal Welfare Fund has been launched to help cope with the pandemic-induced rise in pet ownership.

Nearly three in four Australian households have a pet, with the proportion of pet-owning households jumping from 61 to 69 per cent over the last two years.

Cats appear to be the main target of the program with the government warning the felines can start breeding at four months and have up to three litters a year. One female and her offspring are able to produce thousands of kittens in just a few years.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the funding would help provide crucial desexing services and improve animal welfare.

“We know how important pets are to all Victorians,” she said.

In March last year, Westside Community Desexing in Melbourne was awarded $150,000 in round one of the fund.

Its new clinic has desexed nearly 5000 cats since opening its doors in December.

The clinic’s director, Penny Hocking, said desexing was the most cost effective solution to cat overpopulation.

It comes as the Victorian government opens a separate $500,000 grants program for horse rehabilitation, rehoming and rescue.

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