What to do if you lose your pet
If your pet is missing contact the Epping Animal Welfare Facility on 8401 6200. The facility is responsible for all pets and stray animals found in the Merri-bek municipality.
You can also search through all lost pets currently held at the facility here.
Epping Animal Welfare Facility
20 Companion Place, Epping VIC 3076 Tel: 8401 6200
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm
Wednesday 12.00pm - 6.30pm
Saturday and Sunday 10.00am – 2.00pm
Public holidays 10.00am – 2.00pm (closed to the public Christmas Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day)
- Check online to see if an animal matching your pet's description is being held at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility.
- Ask your neighbours if they have seen your pet
- Check your property including any hiding places
- List your pet on a local community lost animals Facebook page such as Lost and Found Pets and Animals Merri-bek
What to do if you find a lost animal
If you find an animal and it does not have an identification tag with a phone number, you must contact us as soon as possible. If you call after hours, you will be directed to our after hours service.
- It is against the law to keep any animal that you find.
- It is important to be cautious when approaching strange animals. A lost animal may be afraid and attack, so if you are unsure leave any contact to Council officers.
- If the animal is friendly, contain it as soon as possible with a leash or on your property. This will ensure it is safe from traffic or any other dangers.
- If you find a native Australian animal, call Wildlife Rescue on 1300 094 535
- All dogs and cats found in Merri-bek are taken to the Epping Animal Welfare Facility: 8401 6200
- Release fees are payable prior to collecting your animal
Interested in adopting a pet?
If you are interested in adopting a pet, consider contacting a local rescue group, animal welfare organisation, pound or go to PetRescue - Create happiness. Save lives. - PetRescue
Updates about the Epping Animal Welfare Facility
In October 2022 Whittlesea, Merri-bek and Darebin Councils have decided to manage the operation of the Epping Animal Welfare Facility in-house to achieve the best possible outcomes for the animals and our community. The three councils have worked together to develop an operating model which is designed to reduce the current euthanasia rates and reunite the maximum amount of animals with their owners or find them loving new homes.
The Facility will be managed and resourced by experts in animal care and welfare. The change in management is not anticipated to deliver cost savings but is designed to deliver better outcomes for animals and the community.
The in-house model will deliver an excellent standard of animal care while allowing Council more flexibility to respond to community trends and needs, develop further partnerships across the animal welfare sector and take ownership of the shared municipalities’ domestic animal management priorities.
Under this operating model, most animals will be adopted via rescue groups. Animals will stay at the facility until spaces for animals to be fostered or sheltered by rescue groups become available. This adoption process will be independently reviewed in early 2023 in consultation with rescue groups.
The Facility will be renamed and launched to the community in early 2023, with more information to come shortly.
Epping Animal Welfare Facility: Frequently Asked Questions
From the 16 October 2022 the Epping Animal Welfare Facility, which functions as an animal pound will be operated in-house by the City of Whittlesea partnering with Merri-bek and Darebin Councils.
Whittlesea, Merri-bek and Darebin Councils have decided to manage the operation of the Epping Animal Welfare Facility in-house to achieve the best possible outcomes for the animals and our community.
The three Councils have worked together to develop an operating model which is designed to reduce the current euthanasia rates, reunite as many pets as possible with their owners or find them loving new homes.
The Facility will be managed and resourced by experts in animal care and welfare.
This in-house model is in line with a number of other local councils including Ballarat, Bendigo and Melton.
The change in management isn’t about cost savings and has been designed to deliver better outcomes for animals and the community.
Yes, there will be some adoptions directly from the Facility and we have partnered with 26 rescue groups and welfare organisations who will also be offering adoption opportunities.
In addition to the smaller, often volunteer-run rescue groups, Council is partnering with major animal welfare organisations who have much greater capacity. Any animals that rescue groups and welfare organisations cannot accommodate will continue to be cared for at the Facility.
Council’s objectives for the Facility is to:
- achieve the best outcomes possible for the animals in our care
- reunite every animal possible with their owners or find them loving new homes
- reduce the current euthanasia rates
We will continue to review the approach to adoptions to ensure it is delivering the best outcomes for animals and community.
Animals that are suitable for re-homing will stay at the facility until a position at a rescue group becomes available or Council is able to facilitate an adoption. Some animals may have longer stays at the Facility as a result of this.
We are confident the arrangements we are putting in place will deliver enhanced outcomes for the animals in our care and we are looking forward to working with the passionate people in the rescue sector.
We are committed to ensuring that the adoption process is viable while also aligned to our support for rescue groups. An independent review of the adoption service model will be undertaken in early 2023. The review will consider the experience of shelters and foster carers providing adoption during the first three months of the facility operating and will determine the cost and viability of the current model.
A public meeting for rescue groups and engagement with welfare organisations will inform the review. The findings of the review will be considered by the three partner councils before deciding on which adoption service model provides the best outcomes.
Veterinary work will be undertaken at the Facility. This will include but is not limited to vaccination, flea and worm treatment, microchipping and any other treatment that is required while animals are in our care.
Yes. The in-house model will deliver an excellent standard of animal care while allowing Council more flexibility to respond to community trends and needs, develop further partnerships across the animal welfare sector and take ownership of the shared municipalities’ domestic animal management priorities. The Facility will be managed and resourced by experts in animal care and welfare including an in-house Veterinary Practitioner and two Vet Nurses.
The facility will only euthanise animals as a very last resort when this is the most humane option.
A committee will be established which will include experienced staff from each council, the Epping Animal Facility Veterinarian and Coordinator. This committee will consider feedback from animal attendants and other relevant staff to determine which unclaimed animals are suitable for rehoming and which are not. The people on this committee have the expertise and experience to ensure ethical decision making.
The facility will:
- provide stray, abandoned and surrendered animals with refuge and a new life
- reunite lost pets with their owners
- facilitate adoptions by finding new homes for unowned cats and dogs
- protect animals from cruelty
- promote pet wellbeing
- provide education regarding responsible pet ownership
- provide veterinary care to animals at the centre
Council has not directed the RSPCA to empty the facility. As part of the transition arrangements, RSPCA Victoria has advised Council that they will remove animals who are past the eight-day quarantine period to other RSPCA shelters. Any animals still within the eight days will remain at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility.
In accordance with the Domestic Animals Act and the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds, Councils are required to hold cats and dogs for a minimum of eight days to allow their owner time to reclaim them before they become eligible for re-homing. It is in the animal’s best interests to minimise the length of time an animal stays in the Facility, and our main aim is to reunite and rehome animals as quickly as possible.
Animals will not be euthanised after eight days if no home is found. They will be cared for at the Facility until a suitable rescue can be found.
Medical costs of animals at the facility will be the responsibility of Council whilst they are in our care. A vet will be available to provide health checks, medication and emergency care if required. All animals leaving the facility into the care of rescue groups will be microchipped, vaccinated, flea and worm treated.
The Facility will be run by the City of Whittlesea, partnering with Darebin and Merri-bek councils, who will work closely to ensure pets find their way home. All animals entering the Facility are scanned for a microchip and then each council's animal registration database is checked to help identify the animal and contact its owner.
It is always important to keep your contact details on your pet's microchip up to date so we can reunite beloved pets with their owners as soon as possible.
A lost report register will also be developed, allowing owners to leave their details and upload photos of their pets. This will allow our team at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility to cross reference lost reports to the animals in the facility.
Once the facility has transitioned to the new management model, Council will be exploring the option of a volunteer program.
It is anticipated the facility will be renamed in the future.
Recruitment for the facility is underway and RSPCA staff working at the Epping Animal Welfare Facility have been invited to apply for the available positions.
Grants are available to not-for-profit and community organisations who:
- rehome pets
- provide low-cost veterinary services
- provide free or low-cost desexing programs.