Cats-full sign goes up at SPCA
South Waikato SPCA’s Lorna Hutchinson said stray cats are a community problem – not an SPCA problem. Petrice Tarrant reports.
Lack of funds is causing the South Waikato SPCA to condone the shooting of stray cats.
Megan Keen was shocked and horrified when she rang the local animal shelter for advice on what to do with 12 wild strays running around her property.
Keen was told she had three options: Do nothing, take them to the vets to get euthanised, or take them to a farm to get shot ‘humanely’.
‘‘ I got off the phone and thought, ‘did that really happen’?’’
She said she was expecting the SPCA to take the kittens at least, and re-home them.
But centre manager Lorna Hutchinson said they can’t do the impossible. ‘‘ When people say ‘we’ve got cats and we tell them we’ve got no more space then they get cross.’’
But the only people who consider stray cats pests are the ones calling up, she said. ‘‘ Everyone thinks the SPCA should take care of stray cats, but there’s no cruelty in being a stray cat.’’
Hutchinson said people seem to prefer euthanisation by a vet over ‘‘humanely’’ shooting cats, but at $15 a pop, someone has to foot the bill. ‘‘People say ‘well I can’t afford that’, but we can’t either.’’
She said the money has to come from somewhere – SWSPCA’s entire income is fundraised.
‘‘If the [South Waikato District Council] would get on board and work with us with some funding we could manage the stray and feral population a lot better.’’
They are a community problem, not an SPCA problem, she said.
Tokoroa SPCA can house up to 70 cats and kittens and is now at full capacity.
If people are unhappy with the service they need to dig deeper into their own pockets or start lob- bying the local council to work with the SPCA, Hutchinson said.
However council’s regulatory group manager Sharon Robinson said they have never received a formal submission for funding from the SPCA.
‘‘ The SPCA can submit on Council’s Annual Plan for financial assistance.
‘‘This would be discussed and deliberated on by council as part of the Annual Planning process.’’
Hutchinson said councils are not legally required to deal with cats though.