Busy time of year has SPCA looking for volunteers



NEW kittens and puppies are making a lot of work for the Whakatane and Kawerau SPCA, but it’s business as usual for this time of year.

Every year starts off for shelters with kitten and puppy season, meaning a lot of mouths to feed and animals to home.

Around this time, shelters are always looking for volunteers to help with the huge demand.

“It’s always nice to have some people ready and waiting, which we don’t have this year,” said Whakatane centre manager Vicki Barnard.

“We have a few slots we can fill, but we aren’t in desperate need,” she said. The Whakatane SPCA has had a huge influx of litters and expecting animals since October last year, making for a very busy January.

Mrs Barnard said that since introducing a community desexing programme in 2010, offering free desexing to holders of a community service card, their numbers have decreased from over 1000 puppies and kittens to 700 a year.

Kawerau SPCA daily manager, Judy Fergusson, reported that numbers for kittens had dropped over the past few years, but did not have exact numbers.

“It’s very disappointing to see them still coming in, with the amount we spend on desexing,” said Ms Fergusson. Kawerau SPCA frequently offers promotions for cheap or free desexing, to keep down numbers of homeless kittens.

Centre manager, Julia Stevenson-Renwick, said she was also disappointed by the number of animals still coming to the shelter.

Last Wednesday, the SPCA had a litter of eight puppies left anonymously on their doorstep. This had been exasperating for staff, and a tipping point for Ms Stevenson-Renwick.

“We’re absolutely inundated with animals … we spend a lot of money on free or cheap desexing, and I don’t understand why more people in the community don’t take advantage of it,” she said.

Ms Stevenson-Renwick also said that the centre was in desperate need of volunteers, “It’s just so busy and it’s putting a lot of strain on volunteers. We definitely need some more to even out the workload.”

Ms Fergusson said it was nice to see declining numbers, but it was still a very busy time of year for them, and there was a need at the shelter for volunteers.

“We need anyone willing and able, with a love for animals … even doing small things like sweeping the floors or doing dishes helps.
“A lot of people don’t realise how much work is involved with running a centre like this,” she said.