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Kittens saved by vet staff

By Alisa Yong
[email protected]
Veterinary staff struggling with an influx of abandoned kittens are fostering the animals in their own homes, rather than seeing them killed.
Staff say since the closure of the SPCA animal shelter in Masterton and the Q’s Zoo, there has been an increase in people bringing in abandoned kittens, with some even threatening to “get rid” of the animals if staff refuse to take them.
Amy Hall of South Wairarapa Veterinary Services in Featherston said more cats were now ending up on their doorstep.
“There’s definitely a lot of pussy cats that need rehoming and we do get a lot of animals on our doorsteps with us having to try and figure out what we are going to do with them.”
“It is really common, and more common now that we don’t have anywhere to refer them to. Our only port of call for help for rehoming is in Kaitoke or the SPCA in Wellington and we find that most people won’t drive that far.”
Staff had hand-reared a litter abandoned at the Carterton practice but the space and facilities were not ideal, she said.
An employee at another Wairarapa veterinary clinic said there had been an influx of people bringing in boxes of kittens found abandoned by the river, or on the roadside, since the SPCA shelter closed.
“And if we don’t take them we are getting people saying ‘well, we’ll get rid of them ourselves’- it’s pretty out there.
“We don’t want to see any animals harmed so we end up taking them.”
Some staff were fostering animals in their own homes while they tried to find homes for them, she said.
Vet Services Wairarapa receptionist Amber Lyttle said there had been a spike in calls about rehoming animals since the Q’s Zoo closed.
“We were putting people on to them and the word got around that that’s who you call but ever since they’ve closed people have been ringing us instead.”
“It’s not good for us. We want to help people with animals that obviously aren’t getting fed.
“It would be nice to have somewhere that can help. It would definitely be good to have an SPCA back in town, that’s for sure.”
Lee Priday, chairwoman of Featherston’s Community Kitties, said the volunteer group had de-sexed 77 cats and rehomed 27 kittens and four stray cats since last March.
“There’s so many semi-feral cats in the towns — they are everywhere.
“We need more help, really, with the trap, neuter and return.”
Wairarapa SPCA administrator and Wellington SPCA chief executive Steve Glassey said the charity “simply don’t have the funds to commence any additional service other than the inspectorate”.
“The inspectorate is our priority because no other organisation is approved under the Animal Welfare Act to investigate acts of cruelty, so that is our priority because no one else can do it.”
With more donations now coming in, the continuation of the inspectorate services, which had been under threat, now “looked very promising”, he said.
“We are very pleased with the community support that we are getting at the moment in terms of donations and we are now in a position where we are breaking even in regards to public donations and profits from the op shop.”
It was possible “additional services” could be reviewed if there was enough community support and funding, Mr Glassey said.

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