THE days of unwanted dogs and cats being put to sleep in Ipswich are over.
The city council's pound in West Ipswich - where many unloved pets meet their lonely end - is being taken over by the Animal Welfare League on November 18.
The handover has been hailed as a momentous step in the right direction for the future of the city's animals.
Council statistics revealed 720 dogs and 888 cats were put down in the last financial year.
AWLQ CEO Denise Bradley said the Ipswich AWL Re-homing Shelter would help save the lives of many cats and dogs.
"We will also be able to expand our Getting To Zero euthanasia model of all healthy and treatable cats and dogs," Ms Bradley said.
"We hope to be able to save the lives of many hundreds more animals now we have a shelter in the Ipswich community."
Health and Regulation Committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli said the partnership would secure Ipswich's "position as a leader in turning the tables on irresponsible pet owners".
"By 2026 the number of cats and dogs in the Ipswich area would reach 112,000, which represents about one third of the 318,000 people predicted," Cr Antoniolli said.
"In the future it is expected one-in-four Ipswich residents will have four legs.
"That's why we need to look at this problem from both ends and the AWL is helping us to achieve that with their knowledge, ability and philosophy."
Cr Antoniolli said currently if a dog or cat was not claimed within three working days it was euthanised.
"It is criminal we put down so many pets," Cr Antoniolli said.
"Ninety per cent of surrendered or abandoned cats are put down in Ipswich.
"That is a terrible social statistic and society should not accept that.
"It is about the community owning the problem. When the AWL takes over we will see a marked improvement. It is the biggest step we've taken for animal welfare management.
"Ipswich is leading the nation in how we manage and care and for the pets of the city."
Ipswich City Council animal welfare officers will still take care of impounding, but the actual control and operation of the pound will be run by the AWL.
The AWL will celebrate the opening on Saturday, November 19, with jumping castles, raffles, face painting and gift packs for people who adopt a pet on the day. The event runs from 10am until 2pm at 6 Hooper St, West Ipswich.