Western Leader : December 21st 2010
www.westernleader.co.nz Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Twilight Market 23 December 5-8pm ~ Come and Shop with us on this Festive Night ~ Get your Fresh Produce & Gourmet Delights for Christmas Day, 35 stalls to choose from ~ Enjoy the Live Music on the Lawn with a coffee or glass of wine from Artisan ~ Free Parking in the Vineyard 3030962AD Last Market for this Year Re Opens 8 January 2011 9am-12pm Happy Holidays SPCA pleads for help By CATHERINE HEALY Kind hearted: Albie Shepherd of New Lynn is an SPCA volunteer three days a week and fosters animals at home. Photo: CATHERINE HEALY UP TO 100 animals are being dumped at the SPCA each day in the lead up to Christmas and the charity is pleading with pet owners to take responsibility. Operations manager Tracy Dunn says there were 160 cats waiting to be adopted last week -- that's not including those in the SPCA hos- pital and in foster homes. They get left for various reasons -- some are strays while others are abandoned because the owners can't afford their vets' bills. Some people have cats with kittens and they can't keep them. Stray animals have no one to help them. But in the case of owned animals it's the owner's respons- ibility to take care of them. The SPCA should be the last resort,'' Ms Dunn says. The organisation survives with the help of volunteers and foster carers like Albie Shepherd of New Lynn. Mr Shepherd was semi-retired when his wife saw an ad for SPCA volunteers two years ago and suggested he try it. Considering he'd spent his working life as a pest control agent and a butcher it was an ironic choice. But Mr Shepherd is an animal lover. His current brood consists of three dogs and two cats -- all adopted from the SPCA and the Waitakere pound. Mr Shepherd started bringing his work home to New Lynn once he began working at the SPCA centre in Mangere. Most people who work there end up fostering,'' he says. Foster families take animals into their homes and care for them until they're ready for adoption. The SPCA provides everything the animals need, from food to bedding, cages and litter trays. The Shepherds' home hosts a changing procession of furry friends who are being fostered. My animals seem to like it. They all get along well,'' Mr Shepherd says. He currently has two female cats, each with a litter of tiny kittens that will be put up for adoption when they're bigger. He has three rabbits that are too young to be desexed and adopted. And in the bathroom there's a male cat named Buddy who's resting with a pin in one of his hind legs. He was in some kind of accident, I don't know what. Probably hit by a car. People often surrender their animals to the SPCA when they can't afford the surgery.'' Mr Shepherd says Christmas is a busy time for the SPCA with plenty of kittens, cats, rabbits, dogs and puppies needing homes. They're always looking for foster homes at this time of year, particu- larly for cats with kittens.'' He says people need to have the time and space to care for the animals and be mentally prepared to give them back to the SPCA when they're ready to be adopted. It's hard when you've spent a lot of time with a wild cat or a sick animal and have got them to the point that they're lovely and friendly and then you have to hand them over. It's very satisfying though. I'm very proud of my fosters because they're very healthy when they leave here.'' Phone 256-7300 if you can volunteer or become a foster carer for the SPCA.
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