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Masterton SPCA: 3000 animals in 3 years

Masterton’s SPCA is under pressure dealing with the thousands of animals that have come through its doors over the past few years.

SPCA Masterton centre manager Rebecca Johnston spoke to the grants committee of Masterton District Council on Wednesday in support of the organisation’s application for $7500 towards operating expenses for animal welfare services in the district. The centre was looking for help to build its volunteer and foster network.

“The past two years have been traumatic due to covid, weather impacts, and the cost-of-living crisis. Many families are struggling to give their animals the best possible care,” Johnston said.

In the past three years, the SPCA has had 3131 animals come through its doors in Masterton. Dogs like one-year-old Waka [pictured] have been impacted – his owners no longer had time for him, so he is now at the SPCA awaiting a new home.

“The Masterton centre is a vital part of the Wairarapa community, and it is important that we are here to continue to protect those that are the most vulnerable in our society,” Johnston told the committee, going on to explain the requested funding would go towards providing professional animal welfare services to the local community and desexing services.

“Currently, the Masterton SPCA centre is the only vet clinic in Wairarapa offering low cost desexing to families in need.”

In the past year, 550 animals have been desexed at the centre.

The committee heard that, since July 2022, SPCA officers had responded to 233 animal welfare complaints – up 18 per cent on the previous year.

The SPCA is also working with the community to trap and desex large numbers of feral cats in the region.

After the meeting, Johnston said limited desexing and the rising cost of living are two of the reasons animals end up at the shelter.

“We’re seeing animals’ needs bumped further down the list of priorities for people. Lack of desexing results in more unwanted and abandoned litters that ultimately end up in SPCA care. SPCA can offer assistance with desexing, and if owners are struggling and need assistance with this, we encourage them to get in touch with us,” she said.

The centre is often asked for help, but the organisation’s priority is to care for the sick, vulnerable, and injured animals that come into their care, Johnston said.

“At SPCA, we know that New Zealanders consider pets as part of the family, so we try and work with pet owners by offering support and advice for those who are struggling. Centre teams may be able to offer food, medical advice, and flea treatment.

“We also encourage pet owners who feel they can no longer look after their pet to speak with friends and family, as they may be able to offer support,” she said.

Johnstone said the organisation needs volunteers and fosterers.

“Fosters are essential to SPCA as it means animals spend less time in a shelter environment and more time in a home environment where they belong. Fostering also means that we are able to free up space in our centres so more animals who desperately need our care can come in,” she said.

  • More information, including how to apply to adopt Waka or one of other animals currently housed by Masterton SPCA can be found at www.spca.nz

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. They certainly should get the grant from the council as they’re doing Animal Services job too. Council doing not-for-profit dog control.

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