Increased unwanted animal numbers putting SPCA under pressure
December and January proved to be very busy months at SPCA Centres around New Zealand with an increase of up to 450 more animals in SPCA care than over the same period last year.
Almost 4,000 animals are currently with SPCA in their 35 Centres around the country, with thousands more in foster homes throughout communities.
SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says the number of animals being looked after is always seasonally high over summer, but the past two months have been challenging.
“We always see a surge in animal numbers over the summer months as that’s when a lot of animals are breeding – however the rise of unwanted animals is frustrating because it’s so preventable,” Ms Midgen says.
“I would have loved some of our staff to take a well-deserved break over summer as 2020 was a tough year, but it was all hands on deck over the holiday period due to the sheer numbers of animals needing our help.”
Ms Midgen says it’s going to take a collective community effort if we want to see the numbers becoming more manageable.
“A simple operation at the vet is all it takes. As a country we need to start taking desexing more seriously. It is the only way we are going to bring these numbers down and ease the pressure on all animal rescue groups, including SPCA.”
SPCA’s popular Snip ‘n’ Chip campaigns across the country are starting to make inroads with almost 24,000 animals undergoing surgery in the last financial year, to prevent unwanted litters. 2021 looks set to break all SPCA desexing records, with major desexing campaigns planned across the country.
The biggest Snip n Chip programme in the past 12 months is currently underway in Northland, with 2,500 desexing vouchers snapped up since December. Another 1000 $10 cat desexing vouchers have just been released in Whangarei, Dargaville, Kamo, Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Waipu.
Ms Midgen understands other animal charities are also struggling with the sheer numbers of unwanted animals needing care, and says all groups need to work together.
“Animal welfare is a community issue and we all have a part to play,” she says.
“SPCA has made a significant commitment to invest in desexing. Only by changing the scale of the problem can we hope to improve animal welfare outcomes and reduce the overwhelming number of unwanted animals that end up in the care of animal rescue organisations across the country.”