Animal collection statistics

Some found cats and dogs are returned to their owner, adopted or fostered.

Council is committed to owners caring for their pet. We list lost pets and provide information for people who want to adopt a pet. We encourage people to microchip, desex and register their pets.

Collected animals in Merri-bek

Animals found in Merri-bek which cannot be identified through a microchip or pet registration are taken to Council’s pound, the Epping Animal Welfare Facility. This facility provides a Lost and Found Pets page advertising animals found in Merri-bek to help reunite owners with their pets.

Unfortunately, some found animals can't be re-homed, such as wild or diseased cats and dangerous dogs. Sadly, there are more unwanted and abandoned animals in the community than there are new homes.

The following tables list the statistics for cats and dogs at Council’s pound, (Epping Animal Welfare Facility) which is operated by RSPCA.

Cats (2020-21)


wild or diseased cats

Fostered semi- domesticated or domesticated cats

Adopted domesticated cats

Returned domesticated cats

July - September

 57 53 109 14

October - December

97 130 100 16

January - March

74 143 166 15

Cats (records from 2014-15 to 2019-20) 

Cats that are euthanised are those not suitable for re-homing, or those that are deemed feral or diseased.

Dogs (2020-21)



Fostered dogs

Adopted dogs


July - September

8 5 10 38

September - December

6 1 16 37

January - March

6 1 8 37

Dogs (records from 2014-15 to 2019-20) 

Dogs that are euthanised are those that are not suitable for re-homing, those that have been surrounded to Council for behavioural issues or as a result of a Court action. 


Types of cats at Council's pound

There are four types of cats at Council’s pound, which is operated by the Animal Welfare Facility in Epping.

Domesticated cat Domesticated cats that are characterised as well socialised with humans and are dependent on humans for food and nurturing.
Semi-domesticated cat Originally domesticated cats that have reverted to the wild and are no longer owned or kept by someone. Semi-domesticated cats may continue to live in proximity to humans and may become accustomed to their presence.
Wild cat Descendants of semi-domesticated cats that have never been domesticated. Generally wary of humans and do not allow themselves to be handled; these cats scavenge for food.
Feral cat No longer rely on human contact or support and have reverted to a predatory state. These cats are the greatest threat to native wildlife.


Adopting and fostering cats

The adoption and fostering rate of cats varies with the amount of available people willing to rehouse these animals.

Domesticated cats are normally reclaimed as they are valued members of a household and every effort is made to reclaim them. By their nature, these cats are very suitable for adoption.

Semi-domesticated cats, if young enough, can be trained to accept human company and evolve to what would be accepted as a family pet. Older semi-domesticated cats can accept feeding, but can shy away from human attachment often employing defensive actions of growling and scratching to avoid handling. These older cats are generally not adopted as they require intensive rehabilitation, which is generally beyond the resources of the pound. 

The Domestic Animal Act 1994 requires any cat that does not bear an identification marker or microchip and is wild, uncontrollable or diseased is to be immediately euthanised.

In Merri-bek there are no observed feral cats, however the number of wild cats is significant.

The types of kittens presented to the Lost Dogs Home are generally new born or very young kittens and without their mother. These kittens are reliant on their mother for substance and nurture. Another adult cat will not take on a stray kitten and the time and effort required to hand-rear these kittens is beyond the pound's existing resources. 

Weaned kittens (over 10 weeks) are more self-sufficient and are suitable for adoption.

Kittens that are born wild and picked up early enough to allow socialisation or born in the home, but not placed, are most likely to be adopted.

For more information about pet adoption, see adopt a pet.


Who’s for Cats program

Council supports the Who’s for Cats program. This program recognises that people feed unowned cats, but do not take full ownership or responsibility for them.

People feed unowned cats because they genuinely care about them and feel sorry for them. However, many people don’t realise that by doing this they are causing a bigger problem. Owning a cat means that you take responsibility for the cat, including desexing and identifying.

Feeding unowned cats helps keep them alive and strong enough to reproduce. They keep breeding more and more kittens into a life of disease and neglect. This contributes to the tragic cat overpopulation problem in Australia.

The Who’s for Cats program has a simple message: “you must either take ownership of a cat or call the Council”.

For information about how to deal with stray or found animals, see stray cats and found an animal?.