SPCA calls for fresh ap­proach

South Waikato News - - Front Page -

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.’’

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

South Waikato SPCA’S new com­mit­tee mem­bers are feel­ing pos­i­tive about re­pair­ing its rep­u­ta­tion.

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