THE Fraser Coast Regional Council is in damage control as images of dead dogs dumped in an industrial bin have surfaced and spread across Australia.
The images, showing a dog and cat bodies lying among other waste in a bin outside the council's pound, have spread on Facebook.
The photos were taken in April this year, but they were posted on a Facebook rescue group with about 65,000 followers.
And they attracted more than 400 comments from people across Australia describing the incident as "disgusting".
Even individual councillors took to the keyboard on the defence on Monday, apologising for "this regrettable incident".
In a stinging email to councillors, Rescued with Love president Kae Norman called on councillors to show some leadership and show more respect.
"You as representatives have a duty of care, a responsibility to your constituents to dispose of unwanted animals' bodies in a respectful and dignified manner," she said.
Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell was distressed and said the correct procedure was disposing of the dead animals through the council's tip.
"Once they're euthanised by a vet, the bodies are bagged, frozen and disposed of," he said.
"Those photos - were absolutely disgusting - I mean God, not defending the photos, it's awful.
"I think it's one of the most emotive and complex areas that a local government works in."
Cr Robert Garland said the council "took swift action to investigate the matter fully and take appropriate action".
He said the council investigated any measure to minimise animal euthanasia and strived for a zero-kill policy.
"Council has previously supported and offered subsidised de-sexing through the RSPCA mobile van and hosts an annual pet walk event promoting responsible pet ownership, desexing and microchipping," he said.
The Chronicle was inundated with emails and letters about the topic.