VOLUNTEERS at the trouble-plagued Wagga pound have controversially claimed one of the two rangers involved in the frozen cat scandal could still be employed.
Volunteer Myriam Hribar confirmed the staff member in question was working as recently as April 2, despite council on Monday confirming no current staff were employed at the shelter when the allegations took place.
As revealed by the Advertiser on Wednesday, the frozen cat incident actually involved two staff members – one who was bitten by the cat and the other who placed it in the freezer.
Council general manager Alan Eldridge then released an open letter late Thursday afternoon clarifying “that the ranger who placed the cat in the freezer has not been employed at council since last year”.
It remains unclear whether the employee bitten by the cat remains employed, despite direct questions put to Mr Eldridge.
The fall-out into alleged animal abuse continues as three former volunteers, who are spear-heading a petition to improve animal welfare at the facility, call for more more qualified staff to work there.
Ms Hribar claims the entire frozen cat incident would not have occurred if the kitten was being carried in a cage, as it should have been, and not in the ranger’s arms to be easily spooked.
"The ranger or staff member involved in the Saviour (the cat) freezer incident was working at Wagga pound as recently as April 2,” Ms Hribar said.
"We do not hold Wagga pound responsible for the state that animals come to the facility in, but we do hold them accountable for the way they are treated and cared for once they are at the facility".
The online petition has garnered more than 41,000 signatures.
“We will present the petition to council and ask them to address what is asked in it,” Ms Lieschke said.
“We’re really excited about the changes that council is making and we are eagerly awaiting to see what other changes will be made in the future.”
In response to discrepancies on council’s website remaining, Mr Eldridge assured “that no animal at the shelter is unaccounted for and the updated and accurate figures will be published as soon as possible”.
Mr Eldridge earlier this week engaged a third-party review of the facility and procedures, and introduced a raft of changes.
Council’s environment and recreation services manager will take over management from senior staff while issues are investigated, while council also looks into an automatic watering system for kennels.
Meanwhile, RSPCA is not proceeding with criminal charges.