Kim Shorten, Pamela Cairns and Buster celebrating the adoption centre becoming a Fear Free Shelter.
Kim Shorten, Pamela Cairns and Buster celebrating the adoption centre becoming a Fear Free Shelter.

How kind council worker is helping pound pets stress less

A BIG step in keeping animals as calm as possible in pound captivity has been taken by caring council staff.

The Fraser Coast Adoption Centre and Pound is the first council-operated facility in Queensland to be accredited under the Fear Free program.

The council's Animal Facilities Officer Pamela Cairns introduced the program after learning about it at a seminar.

"I was intrigued by a session on understanding an animal's body language and behaviour and learning how they react when they are stressed, anxious or afraid," Ms Cairns said.

"Fear can make them aggressive. Even though they are wagging their tail; if they are anxious, stressed or afraid they can lash out and bite.

"As a result, I undertook the online Fear Free training and I'm now introducing the concepts to the other rangers here."

Each morning, the dogs in the Fraser Coast pound get a treat.

"It's the small things that can make a facility fear free," Ms Cairns said.

The benefit of fear-free dogs and cats in the adoption centre is that more find their forever home quickly.

"In the past dogs would get over excited and bark when they saw staff or volunteers come into the pens to start taking animals for a walk," she said.

"They become anxious and excited waiting for their turn.

"Now, every morning, I visit each pen and give out a treat and only come into the pen if they sit.

"There are many things we can do to lower their stress and the dogs change their behaviour, which makes it easier to find them new homes."

The team was commended by Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour.

"The program ensures that the animals in our facilities feel safe and are happy," he said.

"Happy, relaxed animals quickly find new homes and settle in very quickly which is a great outcome for everyone."


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