SPCA calls for fresh approach
Repairing a damaged reputation. LUKE KIRKEBY reports.
After numerous controversies at the South Waikato SPCA its brand new committee has held a public meeting to work out a way to repair its damaged reputation.
Representatives from various Waikato animal rescues attended, and at times the meeting became heated.
That began after centre manager Nadine Steele said the South Waikato SPCA is currently only taking in sick, injured and vulnerable animals. ‘‘We are not taking owner surrenders, we are not taking in healthy strays,’’ she said.
The reason was; a lack of ‘‘manpower, finance, and space’’.
At that New Lives Animal Rescue’s Donna Young’s blood boiled.
‘‘I work with a lot of rescues and I currently have more animals in my care than the Waikato SPCA as well as other shelters up there so I think saying it is only you and this person is a little bit of a copout. I work really hard to get volunteers’ help and when you say owner surrenders, owner surrenders are actually still vulnerable animals,’’ she said.
‘‘I may not be able to take an adult cat in but I will still try and do everything I can to get somewhere for that cat.’’ Steele quickly responded. ‘‘Before you cut me off and think that is that. It is not a shut door, we offer alternatives and help and suggestions on how owners can become more proactive to find them homes,’’ she said.
‘‘There has [however] been misinformation for a long time that if you don’t want an animal you take it to the SPCA but that is not what the SPCA is.’’
She said working more closely with other animal rescues would help solve the problem.
‘‘I have asked for fosterers and support but up to this point that has not been forthcoming, other than from the people I’m working with. There is only so much we can deal with and I am not willing to compromise the welfare of animals by taking on more than we can chew,’’ she said.
Young said the SPCA was compromising them by ‘‘leaving them out on the street.’’
‘‘If you want public money you need to do a little bit more now rather than just saying we can work together as I am only one person too,’’ she said.
The meeting concluded with an agreement that all charities would exchange numbers and plans to visit the various shelters to see how they could work together better.
‘‘There has been misinformation for a long time that if you don't want an animal you take it to the SPCA.’’
South Waikato SPCA’S new committee members are feeling positive about repairing its reputation.