A First Rate Second Chance
Animal Aid is a place of refuge for the lost, unwanted and abandoned animals in our community. We work diligently to reunite lost pets and give a first rate second chance to unwanted animals. We are dedicated to improving the welfare of all companion animals in our society and passionately advocate and facilitate their adoption. We provide services that help people and pets; enthusiastically sharing our knowledge and expertise.
Our vision is to be leaders in animal welfare; proactively addressing animal homelessness, minimising the number of unwanted animals in our community; and providing premium animal services that deliver complete wellness for companion animals.
The founders of Animal Aid, Alexander & Stella Grierson, started their public animal welfare work in 1938, but it was not until the end of the war that they became the Croydon Animal Aid. In 1948 the organisation was registered as a not-for-profit charity under the Companies Act (now the Corporations Act 2001) and became The Victorian Animal Aid Trust. A small veterinary clinic was established in Croydon and in 1950 27 acres of land was purchased on the corner of Colchester and Canterbury Roads in Kilsyth with the intention of building a veterinary clinic and welfare facility. Unfortunately, by 1956 the area was re-zoned ‘light industrial’ so instead the Trust purchased a 17-acre farmlet at 62-80 Colchester Road, Kilsyth.
In 1999, after 50 years of providing vital animal welfare services in Kilsyth, the ever-growing encroachment of residential development created insurmountable limitations to Animal Aid’s ability to continue its work at that location, effectively forcing us out of Kilsyth.
Following the decision to relocate the shelter; the Kilsyth site was sold and the Coldstream Boarding Kennels and Cattery, at 35 Killara Road was purchased in April 2000. For the welfare work to continue, new facilities were built incorporating a welfare cattery, fully equipped veterinary clinic and office, with some of the existing kennels adapted to provide housing for the welfare dogs. Our Coldstream facility can house approximately 100-120 cats and kittens and up to 90 dogs.
Board of Governance
Ross Kristinof – Chairman
Ross’ career to-date has been in the engineering and infrastructure sector delivering major transportation, water and mining infrastructure projects across Victoria, Australia and New Zealand. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and Deputy President of the Victorian Division, a Chartered Engineer and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Ross is passionate about professional excellence and standards, promoting workplace diversity, and of course animal welfare, which is what brought him to Animal Aid!
Nick Williamson – Deputy Chairman
Nick joined the Animal Aid board in July 2022, having come from a career of advocacy, strategy and stakeholder engagement, operations and corporate services, mostly with for-purpose operations and within healthcare and law. Nick is delighted to have joined the Animal Aid board, having grown up somewhere between a zoo and a vet school and having been surrounded by and caring for animals large and small for most of his life.
Emma Watts – Secretary
Emma joined the Animal Aid Board as a Non-Executive Director in July 2022, having held leadership roles within the not-for-profit, government and corporate arenas, heading up fundraising, communications and stakeholder engagement in the conservation, social services, and animal welfare sectors. Her current role is as Head of Fundraising for SecondBite. Emma is passionate about having a positive impact on the people and animals of the world who need it most. To this end, she has coupled her professional career with a strong volunteer history, primarily in animal welfare, for organisations such as Lort Smith Animal Hospital, Wildlife Victoria, Vets for Compassion, Dachshund Rescue Australia, Save-A-Dog Scheme and RSPCA Victoria. While she has held some wonderful roles throughout her career, her most rewarding is as Mum to her rescue dogs Lucy and Gemma.
Fiona Webster – Trustee
BSc, Grad Dip App Psych, MBA, MPH, GAICD
With a career spanning over 35 years, Fiona has extensive experience as a Health Service Executive across both public and private hospitals. She has held executive roles in strategy, quality and service redesign for two of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan health services before taking up the executive operating officer role at a large tertiary hospital including a period as acting CEO. She has held senior roles within the Victorian Department of Health and the English National Health Service as well as several years as a successful private consultant. She was the CEO of a large not for profit animal charity and has served as a Board Director and President of two not for profit charity animal charities. She is skilled in service planning, strategic planning and clinical governance systems and has had executive leadership in the implementation of significant clinical IT projects and building projects.
Kimberley Lamden – Trustee
Kim joined the Animal Aid board in February 2023, with a background in Finance and Technology and with strengths in analytics and process improvement. Kim has worked predominantly in the infrastructure sector spanning electricity, gas and water and having grown up with and around animals, is a passionate animal welfare supporter. Kim has a degree in Finance and Accounting, is CPA and MBA qualified and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company directors.
Careers at Animal Aid
When you work for Animal Aid you become part of a progressive organisation that is in the unique position to offer a diverse range of employment opportunities to a broad section of the community.
- Animal Welfare Services and Pet Adoptions
- Veterinary Clinic servicing both shelter animals and private clients
- Dog training and socialisation
- Boarding Kennels and Cattery
- Professional Grooming Services
- Community Education
Within each of these departments there are occasionally highly sought after employment opportunities. If you think that you are made of the right stuff and can enhance our dynamic team, click the button above to find out more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does Animal Aid have pound contracts with Victorian Councils?
A. Yes, Animal Aid has pound contracts with: Yarra Ranges Shire Council, Maroondah City Council, Shire of Murrundindi, Knox City Council, City of Whitehorse, Wellington Shire Council and East Gippsland Shire Council.
Animal Aid also has agreements with a number of other councils to receive unclaimed animals from Council run pound facilities, including Mansfield Council. Dogs and cats that are impounded by the local laws officers are held in the pound facility for the statutory 8 day period. On arrival they are checked by our veterinary staff and are given any required treatment. We strongly believe that any animal held in any pound, that has the potential to be re-homed, should, at the very least, be given that opportunity. After the eight day holding period, animals that remain unclaimed are assessed for health and temperament. Those suitable for re-homing are then put up for adoption.
Q. How do I surrender my pet?
We appreciate that most pet owners will do whatever it takes to keep their animals with them forever, but sometimes their circumstance can change and there may be no choice but to surrender their pet into our care.
We encourage owners to seek help and advice before considering surrendering, so if you think you need to relinquish your pet please give our shelter team a call. We can help you work through the issues you are experiencing with your pet, or you can surrender them to us if there is no other option.
Animal Aid takes pride in the lengths we go to in order to ensure that each individual animal get the best possible chance of finding a new family. Many hours are put into not only the temperament assessment and possible rehabilitation, but also the suitable matching of prospective adoptive families. Therefore, we do request a donation from everyone who finds themselves in need of our services.
In some cases serious health or behavioural issues will make it impossible for Animal Aid to rehome some animals. Often the reasons they are surrendered are the same reasons that we aren’t able to rehome them. However, we will make every effort possible to give the animals surrendered into our care a second chance, as we believe all pets deserve the safety and comfort of a loving family.
All animal surrenders are undertaken by appointment only. Please contact Animal Aid to discuss your needs prior to bringing your pet to the shelter.
Animal Aid Coldstream – 9739 0300 (must phone)
Animal Aid Gippsland – 5144 5940 or email@example.com
Animal Aid East Gippsland – 5152 1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Does Animal Aid euthanise animals?
A. Animal Aid believes in rehoming all adoptable companion animals. We do not euthanise animals due to the constraints of time and space. The euthanasia of an animal should only ever be considered as a last resort after all reasonable steps have been taken to assess, repair and rehabilitate treatable conditions and behaviours. Animal Aid will only euthanise an animal that is suffering a serious medical condition that cannot be treated or greatly reduces the animal’s quality of life, or if that animal has severe behavioural issues that are deemed high risk. We have a responsibility to the community to rehome healthy, temperamentally sound animals and Animal Aid understands that where companion animals have unmanageable behaviour or are a danger to people and other animals, euthanasia is the responsible action to take. It should only ever be carried out by a Veterinarian in accordance with Animal Aid’s Health Management Plan.
Q. Does Animal Aid support Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)?
A. Animal Aid supports the creation of evidence based regulatory policy.
While enforcing the enacted legislation, Animal Aid would seek to replace Breed related legislation aimed at reducing dog bite statistics on the grounds that:
• BSL does not reduce the number of dog bites.
• BSL does not address the number of bites that arise from other breeds and cross-breeds.
• BSL ignores the fact that there may be highly sociable and well-adjusted individuals in any breed.
• The identification of Pitbull Terriers (the breed most under scrutiny) and other banned breeds from visual standards cannot be determined with complete reliability.
BSL – The Facts
• Studies have shown that BSL has not reduced bites in the UK (Klaassen, Buckley, & Esmail, 1996), Germany (Schalke, Ott, & von Gaertner, 2008; Ott, Schalke, von Gaertner, & Hackbarth, 2008) or the Netherlands (Cornelissen & Hopster, 2010) and BSL has been repealed in Germany and the Netherlands. Only one study supports the effectiveness of BSL and that incorporated many other strong initiatives to promote responsible ownership (Villalbi et al., 2010).
• Incontestably identifying a ‘restricted breed’ dog is currently impossible. Visual determinations of breed made by a Victorian government appointed ‘breed panel’ of experts was overturned by legal challenge.
• There are no definitive objective criteria, such as a DNA test, to identify a Pitbull Terrier.
• The Division of Local Government in NSW reports that in 2005 only 1-2% of attacking dogs were identified as restricted breeds i.e. 98% were not. The percentage of bites attributable to restricted breed dogs has been steadily decreasing (0.06% in 2008 and 0.2% in 2009). Therefore, BSL could only ever be expected to reduce the number dog bites by a very small amount.
• Any breed of dog breed can bite regardless of breed. The challenge is identifying which one is likely to do so before they actually do it.
• Identifying strategies that work elsewhere and implementing them. For example, Calgary, Canada has reduced dog bites and shelter euthanasia; increased desexing and regulatory compliance without BSL or mandating desexing. Incidentally, Calgary has a very high population of Pitbull Terriers.
• Develop the ability to identify individual dogs that have a propensity to bite, regardless of species by establishing if there are genetic markers of canine aggression.
• Provision of widespread, low-cost dog training targeting problematic and anti-social behaviour to proactively prevent issues developing.
• Development of validated assessments for good temperament and only breeding with dogs that have passed such tests to reduce aggression. While all dogs have the ability to bite, the risk is mediated by the size and sociability of the dog, genetic factors, specific breed characteristics (which are the focus of current attention) and owner responsibility. The Calgary experience indicates that owner responsibility is the key variable. Animal Aid believes that society’s interests are best served by moving away from BSL and using a combination of strategies to reduce dog bites including rewarding responsible owners who register, socialise and train their dogs while rigorously enforcing registration requirements and owner liability for the offences that their dog’s commit.
Cornelissen, J. M. & Hopster, H. (2010). Dog bites in The Netherlands: a study of victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors to support evaluation of breed specific legislation. Veterinary Journal, 186, 292-298.
Klaassen, B., Buckley, J. R., & Esmail, A. (1996). Does the dangerous dogs act protect against animal attacks: a prospective study of mammalian bites in the accident and emergency department. Injury, 27, 89-91.
Ott, S. A., Schalke, E., von Gaertner, A. M., & Hackbarth, H. (2008). Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed-specific legislation regarding aggressive behavior. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3, 134-140. Schalke, E., Ott, S. A., & von Gaertner, A. M. (2008). Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony . Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3, 97-103.
Villalbi, J. R., Cleries, M., Bouis, S., Peracho, V., Duran, J., & Casas, C. (2010). Decline in hospitalisations due to dog bite injuries in Catalonia, 1997-2008. An effect of government regulation? Inj.Prev., 16, 408-410.
Q. Does Animal Aid support the sale of animals in pet shops?
A. Animal Aid believes that acquiring any animal should be a measured decision with due consideration given to the potential owners current and future financial ability and level of commitment to ensure adequate care.
Animal Aid endorses adoption from a shelter or reputable rescue service or breeder and strongly opposes the sale of animals through regular pet shops, through ‘online stores’ and warehouse outlets. It is a fact that most of the puppies and kittens sold from these businesses are sourced from intensive breeding facilities that use cruel and inhumane practices to generate their ‘product.’
Animal Aid does endorse the sale of animals from retail outlets if the animals have been sourced from shelters or legitimate responsible rescue services and are sold desexed, microchipped with an adequate adoption counselling and information service provided. Animal Aid advise that the sale of any animal must be supported by a post purchase advice and support service.
Q. Does Animal Aid support the compulsory desexing of cats?
A. Animal Aid strongly supports and advocates compulsory desexing of cats as a significant and practical strategy to reduce the number of unwanted cats in Australia.
Animal Aid recognises that cat over population is predominantly caused by the populations of cats that are not ‘fully owned’ or responsibly cared for by our community. These populations of cats include strays, partially owned cats (those that people feed but do not take full responsibility for) and feral cats. Currently only cats that are adopted through animal shelters and rescue services have to be de-sexed, which accounts for only 22%(according to the Pet Acquisition Study) of cats. Pet shops, breeders and free to good home acquisitions have no such obligation. Animal Aid recognises there is a high rate of desexing among cats that are registered through their local council. However industry data suggests that only *41% of households register their cats. As a result it is difficult to determine the real level of cat de-sexing, but there is likely to be a far higher rate of undesexed cats among this population of cats than among the registered population of cats.
*DAMIC Benchmarking Survey – found 41% of estimated 616,000 owned cats were registered and that 81.89% were registered for the reduced fee, mostly claimed for desexing ie 82% desexing rate.
Compulsory desexing of cats will require all stakeholders in the sector to work together to increase desexing rates and reduce the number of cats that have to be euthanased annually by animal shelter workers. Animal Aid partners with local councils and other agencies to develop and implement strategies that increase desexing rates and reduce the number of unwanted cats in the Australian community.
Q. What is Animal Aid’s position on puppy farms?
A. Puppy farms are businesses that breed popular breeds and cross breeds to supply to pet shops.
Commonly the animals bred from are not “good” representatives of the breeds in terms of health, conformation and temperament. Puppies are bred mainly for the “cute” factor and fluffy is best. This often means that cross breeds are manufactured without regard for temperament and health. This has enormous implications for the purchasers of these puppies and they are often bought on a whim from a pet shop window with little information and preparation beforehand. In addition the puppies are not sold desexed which enables the cycle to continue.
Puppy Farms are generally located in rural or fringe areas and can house hundreds of dogs. The puppies are also often sold for exportation to other countries to satisfy the appetite for fashionable pets there as well. Animal Aid does not condone commercial export of any species as the animals welfare involved is not a priority and often the animals involved endure terrifying ordeals and become sick and can ultimately not survive the process.
The breeding dogs at a puppy farm are not treated as pets and are not sufficiently catered for in terms of being able to exhibit natural behaviours, level of comfort and provision of health care.
Animal Aid always recommend that people source their next family member from an animal shelter where the adequate behavioural and medical assessments have been undertaken and life time support for the adopter is provided.
Q. What is Animal Aid’s position on the breeding of companion animals?
A. Animal Aid is opposed to uncontrolled and unregulated breeding of companion animals as today this leads to the euthanasia of adoptable animals. Whilst the supply of companion animals (i.e. overpopulation) exceeds the number of appropriate homes available, breeding must be discouraged and significantly reduced.
Animal Aid is opposed to the selective breeding of companion animals which produces changes in bodily form, behaviour or function that is ultimately disadvantageous to the pets health or quality of life.
To reduce this kind of production of companion animals (commonly referred to as ‘backyard breeding’) Animal Aid believes that only licensed breeders should be allowed to breed animals in premises, and with standards, that comply with a mandatory Code of Practice
Animals sold as pets should be vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and desexed prior to sale. Statistics and records should mandatorily be kept and made available to the relevant government department and the public at large.
We are thrilled to announce Purina ProPlan as the official food sponsor for Animal Aid. Their Veterinary Range stands out for delivering purpose-driven nutrition, expertly formulated to support the health of dogs and cats with specific needs. This collaboration marks a significant step towards fulfilling our welfare mission, as Purina ProPlan’s specialised nutrient profiles are designed to meet the unique requirements of animals with various health conditions, ensuring they thrive under our dedicated care.
The Wandin/Seville Community Bank Branch has been a long-standing supporter of Animal Aid, providing a number of grants for various purposes, the most recent of which has enabled the purchase of new veterinary equipment.
The wider local Community Bank branches of the Bendigo Bank have also collectively supported Animal Aid by providing additional funds such as to help fit out two animal transport vehicles as well as investing in engaging events such as the Adventure Dog – A Cross Country Challenge.
For the Bendigo Bank, as well as their Community Bank Branches, they are good with money. But they’re much more interested in the good that money can do.
The Advocate team have very generosly sponsored all of Animimal Aid’s parasidisides used in our Welfare Program. This contribution is exceedingly generous and saves Animal Aid many thousands of dollars every year. Advocate protects against more parasites than any other treatment so we can rest easy.