Waikato SPCA forced to shut its doors
The Waikato SPCA is being forced to close as it struggles with financial woes.
The closure means there is now no organisation in the Waikato that is authorised under the Welfare Act 1999 to carry out duties related to animal welfare.
Hamilton City Council will apply to become an authorised organisation as a precautionary measure, but the paperwork is not expected to be completed for some time. Legally, only authorised organisations can accept stray cats into their care.
The SPCA has been besieged by financial problems all year, reporting a $393,000 loss in the 2015 financial year.
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"We have come to the stage where we simply don't have the staff or resources to deal with and provide specialist care to the animals who need us," a Facebook post said.
A year earlier, according to the 2014 annual report, the organisation posted a profit of $24,000.
The 2015 annual report shows an income of $1.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2015.
The closure means other shelters will be forced to pick up the slack, including Donna Young and her animal organisation New Lives Rescue.
The charity operates an op shop in Hamilton East, plus applies for grants and does general fund-raising. It is hoping for financial assistance and also would welcome more volunteers or foster homes.
Young knew the Waikato SPCA was in financial trouble, but had hoped it would get it sorted.
The timing couldn't have been worse as kitten season is in full swing. The holiday period also often sees animals dumped or neglected.
"We are going to take it one day at a time. Obviously, if an animal is in danger, sick or injured, we won't turn it away. We will just deal with it. We will also communicate with other organisations to help work in as best as possible," Young said.
"If there is an animal that can wait a bit longer, we may look at doing a stray waiting list like the SPCA did."
New Lives Rescue will work with the Hamilton City Council.
"The Waikato SPCA closure will impact the council, as we will require extra staffing, training, animal food and equipment related to preparing to care for cats and other animals," said Susan Stanford, manager of the council's Animal Education and Control unit.
"Recently the area at Animal Education and Control's Ellis Street office, where the Waikato SPCA used to be located, has been upgraded to host dogs up for adoption. The cattery the SPCA used will be upgraded next week to give us space to host a very limited number of cats."