SPCA New Zealand

SPCA's care for animals in recent weather disasters

17 March 2023

The recent severe weather events in New Zealand, including the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, have had a significant impact on the communities in the affected regions. So many generous New Zealanders contributed to our calls for help, and we raised more than $300,000 to cover both our emergency response efforts and ongoing support to animals and pet owners in need.

SPCA's care for animals in recent weather disasters

Here’s how you’ve helped the animals with your incredible donations.

Auckland floods

The recent flooding in Auckland was a challenging time for both people and animals in the affected areas. However, the SPCA was quick to respond to the crisis and provide support where needed.

Our Inspectorate helped with emergency calls and animal rescues, and they provided animal food and supplies to food banks, emergency animal shelters, and communities over multiple days.

Together with local council, our team was at the Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Community Support Centre to provide pet care packages for those in need.

In addition to the packages which included food, blankets, litter and collars, SPCA was on hand to provide information and advice for pet-owning families, including what to do when pets go missing, and reassuring affected members of our community.

We also opened the doors of our Māngere Centre to offer free vital services to Auckland pet owners in the wake of the floods, including:

  • Vaccinations
  • Microchipping
  • Flea treatment
  • Worming tablets
SPCA staff helping with the Auckland flood response

The services provided in Māngere saw the SPCA Auckland team vaccinate 158 dogs and 33 cats, and microchip 141 dogs and 33 cats. All of the above received flea and worm treatments. All of these were at no cost to the community.

Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone Gabrielle, in particular, resulted in many people being displaced from their homes, and caused widespread damage to property and infrastructure. Unfortunately, animals were also severely impacted by the floods, and SPCA responded swiftly.

On the ground rescues: SPCA staff from across New Zealand were sent to assist with the rescue and response efforts in Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti. Our people played a key role in rescuing and housing animals affected by the floods. This included not only cats and dogs, but also horses, cattle, sheep, chickens, and even goldfish. We also worked closely with veterinarians to provide medical care to the animals in need, and to transport them to veterinary clinics when necessary.

Temporary shelter: SPCA also worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), HUHA Rescue and VERT (Veterinary Emergency Response Team- Massey University Foundation) to set up an emergency shelter for effected animals at the Hastings Racecourse. This provided a safe and secure location for both lost and displaced animals while their owners were dealing with the aftermath of the floods.

Keeping animals fed: we sent two truckloads full of animal food to Hawkes Bay and one truckload to Tairāwhiti. The latter was sent in a special convoy due to the difficult road conditions and transport of that food alone was $6,000 per truck.

Our partner Purina provided an incredible amount of pet food for us to help distribute – throughout both events – to the value of $850,000. We, along with those recipients of the food, can’t thank Purina enough.

Moving animals between regions: In the weeks following Cyclone Gabrielle, SPCA transported 80 kittens down to the Wellington Centre so our Hawke’s Bay teams would have more capacity to assist with the cyclone response. These kittens were snapped up in Wellington, from a community keen to open their homes to furry companions to help the recovery efforts.

And just recently, we had our animal transport bus make the long journey up from Otago, hitching a ride on the ferry while full of supplies for Hawkes Bay. Thanks to KiwiRail, who gave us priority passage across the Cook Strait (at a time of limited crossings) and covered the cost for the van and driver to support our SPCA cyclone response.

This bus will soon make another trip from our Hawkes Bay Centres down to Wellington, once again aiming to find homes for the many animals with less opportunity of being adopted in a region which will sadly suffer the impacts of the cyclone for some time.

We would like to thank everyone who supported their efforts during this difficult time, including volunteers, donors, and partner organisations. Our work isn’t done - we will continue to support the area as required and ensure vulnerable animals get the care they need.

In areas impacted by recent weather events, the rising cost of living has made it even more difficult for many pet owners to afford desexing for their companion animals, leading to an increase in unwanted litters and further strain on already stretched animal welfare resources. Some upcoming programmes from SPCA will include desexing initiatives in the Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti region to help people struggling and prevent more animals ending up homeless or neglected.

Together, we can make a difference and ensure that animals in New Zealand are cared for and protected.

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