PETS Haven animal shelter will be forced out of its shopfront in High Street, Woodend, after Macedon Ranges Council rejected its application for a planning permit.
At its meeting last Wednesday, the council reiterated its offer to help owner Trish Burke to find a more appropriate site for the shelter.
The shelter operates from a shop in the 19th Hole shopping centre complex and is located within a business1 zone. It has been operating as a pet shop since 2003 and a shelter since 2007.
The council order relates only to the shelter. It can still continue operating as a retail business at the site, selling animals and pet products.
Lawyer Kurt Falkenstein, representing Ms Burke, told the council meeting that he was speaking on behalf of the "15 staff, 1500 animals saved every year and 45,000 that indicate support for Pets Haven. Pets Haven adds character to the shire. It is essentially a retail shop, an ethical pet shop and we've done everything we can in the past 12 months to turn Pets Haven into a thriving, profiting business."
Mr Falkenstein said the shelter's inability to trade for a period while another home was found would lead to the business folding.
He said the business turnover was $500,000 a year. "The lease needs to be paid out and there is simply not enough funds for that.
"The reality is this is a not-for-profit organisation despite being a registered company."
Council planning and development manager Rick Traficante said Pets Haven's core activity was the adoption of abandoned and unwanted animals, not retail. Therefore, it did not meet the business1 zone objective encouraging the development of business centres for retail and commercial use.
Cr John Letchford said the council understood Pets Haven was popular and well patronised. "Who's to say it won't be just as popular in Romsey or Riddells Creek. We've said we would work with the applicant (Ms Burke) to find a more appropriate site."
He said land in an industrial or farming zone would suit an animal shelter.
But Cr Rob Guthrie said
the animal shelter deserved a second chance.
"It's been there for five years and there's been no complaints; I can't believe how callous we're being. It's attracting a lot of people to the shire who wouldn't otherwise come and it's got a very good reputation around the shire."
Cr Helen Relph, supporting Cr Guthrie, said Pets Haven had a right to stay.
will contact Ms Burke to discuss an end date for the shelter closure.
If Ms Burke appeals to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against the council decision, the council will take no action until a verdict is announced. It is not yet known whether Ms Burke will appeal.