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SPCA centres commended for Saving Lives

Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

SPCA Centres in the heart of the North Island were well represented amongst the winners of the inaugural Saving Lives Awards, presented at SPCA New Zealand’s 2011 National Conference in Wellington on 7th May.

The Awards, to be given annually from now on, celebrate Centres that have excelled in implementing aspects of SPCA New Zealand’s ten point Saving Lives programme, adopted at its 2010 Conference in Rotorua.

The Award for Rehabilitation went to SPCA Rotorua, both for its new facility for looking after cats with feline flu and for its start-up of a programme for helping owners deal with animals' behavioural problems.

"Our cattery only used to have room for 20 cats and they were all together so that, if one got sick, they all got sick and, if there was a bully boy amongst them, they'd all get terrified. However, with help from generous donors, we now have 11 separate 'apartments' holding five cats each.

"That means we can keep flu-ridden cats away from the others, making it easier for them to recover, preventing the spread of infection and literally saving animals' lives," says SPCA Rotorua's Manager, Nicola Martin.

"Another important way of saving lives is make sure that as many animals as possible have loving homes. Amongst other things, that involves helping owners to retain animals which might be displaying behavioural problems. We're already experiencing positive results with the programme we’ve set up for this purpose," she adds.

Other life-saving initiatives on the part of SPCA Rotorua include stabilising the size of local cat colonies through a TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release) programme and significantly increasing the number of people fostering sick kittens.

The inaugural award for Community Involvement went to SPCA Taupo for an inventive series of promotions aimed at encouraging the public to get to know the SPCA, to support its work and to help find homes for animals.

Halloween Howlers encouraged dog adoptions by providing adopters with free vouchers for a mobile dog wash, a free bag of Hill's dog food and other canine-orientated gifts. Meanwhile, Black Cat Friday, on successive Friday the 13ths, proved an opportunity to adopt a black cat from SPCA Taupo at a greatly reduced price.

"Most recently, to celebrate the Royal Wedding, we invited the public to meet two special felines, Wills and Kate. The pair were regally on display and up for adoption in our reception area, surrounded by other royal cats, including a little ginger kitten, known as Prince Harry.

"Rest assured, we've yet more fun promotions up our sleeves, aimed at getting the community into our Centre and introducing them to wonderful animals in need of good homes," says SPCA Taupo's Manager, Faye Johnson.

SPCA Te Kuiti also received an award; for putting its "heart and soul" into saving animals' lives, even though the Centre is without a "shelter" facility of its own and operates from a local veterinary clinic.

SPCA New Zealand's National President, Bob Kerridge, describes the formal adoption of a ten point Saving Lives agenda, at the 2010 Annual Conference in Rotorua, as marking out a major philosophical direction in how the Society operates.

"Saving lives has always been a crucial aspect of our work. However, we're now making it absolutely central. We want to ensure that every animal with which the SPCA comes into contact receives the optimum level of opportunity for enjoying a full and happy existence.

"No dogs or cats should have to die because there isn’t the room or funding available for looking after them.

"Just one year on from adopting the Saving Lives agenda, it's tremendous to see the progress our Centres are making and to be able to honour the outstanding achievers with these inaugural annual awards," he says.