Last year every single Primary and Intermediate School across New Zealand was sent copies of the SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks with the aim of helping Kiwi kids to both improve their reading skills and learn to care for and respect animals.
Now the storybooks are going to be accessible for kids who have a vision impairment, thanks to the team at the Blind Foundation.
The Blind Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people who are blind, deaf-blind or vision impaired.
They will be transcribing the six storybooks into accessible formats so that they can be enjoyed by all New Zealand children. These formats include braille, large print, audio and accessible electronic text.
The six books in the series cater to different ages and reading levels. Each story is based on a real-life animal rescue from the SPCA, and contains messages about animal care, animal welfare, and tips for families on how to be responsible pet owners.
“Research tells us that the best way to achieve behavioural change is by reaching out to children between 7 and 12 years old. By educating the next generation of animal owners, we can help ensure a better future for all animals,” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are skilfully written to enable teachers to integrate them straight into their classroom literacy programmes. The intention of each story is to teach core animal welfare messages, while also supporting the development of children’s reading skills and strategies. If you haven’t seen our storybooks before, we have six SPCA learn-to-read storybooks, which were launched in October 2016.
Each of the 6 books is based on a real-life animal from the SPCA and has messages of animal welfare and tips on how kids can care for their own animals at home.
We truly believe that by teaching our children about how to treat animals, we're helping to stop the cycle of cruelty in our communities.
The Learn-to-Read Storybooks that The Blind Foundation will use are:
The Smooth Movers’ Club
A boy and his father want their move to the city to go smoothly for their cat Noah. It does, until Muscles, the fearsome neighbourhood tomcat, turns up.
Sam and Charlie Love Pudding
When the abandoned cat who lives under the sports shed at their school gets into trouble, Sam and Charlie have to act.
The Problem with Sione’s Spaghetti
Sione’s pet rabbit has a problem. Sione’s solution involves a pack of raging rhinos, but will it work?
Storm Gets A New family
Storm used to spend his days chained to kennel till his life was changed by a bolt of lightning and a girl with friendly eyes.
Pumpkin Pie and Pavlova
Mrs Melling likes pumpkin pie and pavlova much more than she likes Mr Watkins or his hens. Will Mr Watkins find a way to change that?
The Mouse at the Mall
A girl and her mother go to the mall to buy shoes. They leave with a shoebox with a toilet roll and a mouse inside. What will happen next?
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are available for purchase by schools and our supporters. Visit our online shop here.
A Masterton man who caused a neighbour’s cat to die while hanging by its leg in a leg-hold trap was sentenced yesterday in the Masterton District Court.
Ross Dorrian, 55, pleaded guilty to two charges: using a restricted trap in contravention of the Animal Welfare (Leg Hold Traps) Order 2007 and ill-treatment of an animal causing the animal to suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
He was ordered to pay $1500 fine to the SPCA, $500 emotional harm to the owners, $263 vet costs and $100 in legal fees.
The case began on or about Sunday 20 March 2016 when the defendant set a size one, restricted, leg-hold trap to catch possums, nailing it to the top of a post on his rear boundary fence of his property in Colombo Road, Masterton.
The Animal Welfare (Leg Hold Traps) Order 2007 prohibits the use of leg-hold traps within 150 metres of a dwelling without the express permission of the occupier or in any area where there is a probable risk of catching a companion animal.
“Mr Dorrian set his trap within 150 metres of approximately 143 dwellings and didn’t seek permission from any of his neighbours at any time,” says Steve Glassey, Wellington SPCA Chief Executive.
The defendant checked the trap on the evening of 22 March and found it empty.
The next night at about 8.30pm, a four-year-old, female, tabby/tortoiseshell and white cat called Eli was discovered, dead, hanging by her left front leg from the trap.
“Because the trap was suspended from a fence post, Eli was left hanging by her left front leg, unable to pull herself up. Numerous scratches and scuffmarks on the fence confirm her desperate efforts to escape,” says Mr Glassey.
“Let’s be very clear here: this trap was set incorrectly. It is not acceptable for a trap to be set in such a way that would leave any trapped animal hanging, regardless of whether it is the target animal or not. Doing so could result in cruelty offences being committed, as in this case.”
The defendant failed to check the trap on 23 March and was unaware that Eli had been caught.
“Any live capture trap must be checked within 12 hours of sunrise on each day the trap remains set to determine if an animal has been caught,” says Mr Glassey. “Again, the defendant failed to do this.”
Veterinary examination of the cat’s body revealed that the elbow of her left forelimb was dislocated. Compression from the trap may have caused lack of blood supply to the limb and nerve compression. After about 30 minutes this would have caused pain that would have got progressively worse.
The cause of death could not be established, but the presence of scratches and scuffmarks on the fence, coupled with the fact that the cat died in the trap, suggest that shock, dehydration, hypothermia, and exhaustion were contributing factors.
The veterinarian concluded that Eli would have suffered severe pain and distress at the time of having her foot caught in the trap, and hanging from the trap would have caused stretching and strain on the muscles on the left forelimb and trunk, which would have caused severe discomfort and muscle pain. Eli would have also experienced distress from being restrained and being unable to express the normal fight or flight behaviours when exposed to pain.
When interviewed, the defendant said that he knew that there were cats around but stated that they didn’t tend to go into his property as he had built the fences up over the years. However, he agreed that there was a probable risk of catching a cat. He expressed significant remorse and has been co-operative throughout the investigation.
“Setting leg-hold traps in urban areas is totally unacceptable for several compelling reasons,” says Mr Glassey.
“You can’t set leg-hold traps within 150 metres of any dwelling without the occupier’s permission. You’re also not allowed to set a trap where someone’s pet could easily be caught in it. And you shouldn’t set it in such a way that animals caught in the trap would end up hanging off the ground.
“Even if you do satisfy these conditions, you also have to check it daily within 12 hours of sunrise or face possible cruelty charges if an animal is caught and you fail to deal with it in a humane way.
“The SPCA wants to send a clear message on this issue: don’t set leg-hold traps in urban areas. The risks to pets and children are real and the consequences are potentially severe.”