SPCA New Zealand

SPCA announces closure of Kaitaia Centre

03 July 2023

SPCA has announced the permanent closure of its Kaitaia Centre, with the charity instead planning to invest in more desexing in the area, while also evaluating resources needed for its Kerikeri Centre to service animal welfare needs across the whole region.

SPCA announces closure of Kaitaia Centre

The country's oldest and largest animal welfare charity will be vacating the leased site in Kaitaia and outlining significant plans to channel funds into desexing initiatives in the Far North, targeting a larger goal of reducing the number of unwanted animals.

SPCA’s Kaitaia Centre closed temporarily on 29 May, following concerns about the leased facility’s plumbing and subsequent sanitation and hygiene risks posed to both staff and animals.

After animals in the Centre's care were moved to SPCA's Kerikeri Centre, a full evaluation of the Kaitaia leased location followed to determine its future potential to meet the needs of the animals it served.

Unfortunately, the evaluation made clear it was not fit for purpose and the tough decision was made to close the Centre permanently and move operations to Kerikeri.

SPCA interim CEO, Robyn Kiddle, says the charity remains committed to upholding the highest standards of animal welfare and recognises the importance of providing safe and suitable environments for animals under its care.

“At times, it becomes necessary to make the difficult decision of closing an SPCA Centre that does not meet the required standards,” says Ms Kiddle. “We know that concentrating our efforts in our Kerikeri Centre – on land owned by SPCA – will allow us to continue our mission of preventing cruelty to animals and improving their lives.

“Desexing will become a primary focus in the Northland area for our charity. By tackling the problem at its source, SPCA can make a tangible difference in reducing the suffering of countless animals. This closure will allow us to channel funds into desexing activities and focus on establishing a better functioning ‘hub’ Centre in Kerikeri that can effectively serve the region."

The Kerikeri Centre is just over an hour’s drive away, offering a more favorable location and facilities that are able to be appropriately invested in. While a full assessment is yet to take place, discussions are already taking place around requirements necessary to expand its capacity and accommodate a greater number of animals.

SPCA also intends to have its new mobile desexing unit make its nationwide debut in Northland in October to assist the community to desex their companion animals and prevent unwanted litters. More community desexing (vouchers to desex with a Vet) will also be provided to the region.

“We’re working closely with staff to ensure a smooth transition during the closure of the Kaitaia Centre, as well as the local Vet who we’ve partnered with for a long time,” adds Regional Manager, Margaret Rawiri. “We deeply appreciate the dedication and hard work of our Kaitaia Centre staff and volunteers, who have played a vital role in the welfare of animals in the region.”

Ms Rawiri says investigations into alternative sites for a Kaitaia Centre were considered, but the focus for the area remains on having a sustainable and lasting impact on animal welfare.

“I know there will be disappointment that we won’t have a physical Centre in Kaitaia itself, but by allocating resources towards desexing initiatives, SPCA can prevent the birth of countless unwanted animals, reducing the strain on shelters and alleviating the burden on already limited resources.

“Investing in building a new premise for homing animals may offer temporary relief by providing additional space, but it does not address the core issue of overpopulation. Without actively curbing the breeding cycle, the demand for shelter spaces will continue to outstrip the available resources, perpetuating the cycle of stray and abandoned animals. Desexing, combined with building on our owned space at Kerikeri, is a more responsible use of our funds.”

An SPCA Field Officer will continue to service the local Kaitaia area where animals need assistance and transport to Kerikeri. Inspectorate services which provide both education and enforcement will remain unchanged, continuing to provide service in the Kaitaia area. The local Op Shop will continue to play a vital role in the community - promoting sustainable and affordable goods to raise money for animals across the country.

Members of the Kaitaia community in need of assistance with abandoned, abused, or neglected animals are still able and encouraged to contact SPCA’s Kerikeri Centre on 0800 428 464.
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