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Rise in animal abuse sign of the times, says Wellington SPCA

Nov 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story

With animal abuse on the rise, Wellington SPCA is highlighting animal cruelty during its annual Paws Appeal.

About 500 collectors will hit the streets, collecting donations for the SPCA and raising awareness for animal abuse and neglect.

Wellington SPCA investigates about 900 animal welfare complaints each year and has prosecuted nine people in cases of extreme abuse this year alone.

The rising numbers of animal abuse cases are a sign of the times, and disappointing for the charity, says SPCA media spokesman James Craw.

“It reflects a national trend of these cases rising. There are studies linking animal abuse to unemployment,” he says.

Some volunteers helping out also have SPCA animals at home, like Ange Crook who found her 4-month-old Blue Heeler Cross at the shelter in Newtown.

“Compared to a pedigree he has a bit more spunk, he’s so full of personality,” says Ms Crook who has been collecting for the SPCA for years.

“We wanted a puppy that needed a home. That was quite important, to give it a nice, loving home.”

The Newtown shelter is currently looking after 200 animals, like Rata the cat and Buster the dog (above): poster animals for this year’s appeal.

Rata and Buster, who were both were injured and neglected when they were rescued, are two of 6,000 animals looked after by the SPCA each year.

To raise awareness of animal cruelty, every year the SPCA releases a list of shame during the appeal, detailing the worst cases they have seen.

“[They are] probably ones you’ve seen on the news where the animal had to be put down. It’s not a nice list,” says Mr Craw.

The appeal is also their biggest fundraiser and last year they broke a record, raising just under $80,000 and this year they are aiming even higher.

With a record number of volunteers signed up to help out- some even dressed as animals- the SPCA is hoping to hit the $100,000 mark.

“We have really passionate people supporting SPCA who are out there collecting, going the extra mile,” says Mr Craw.

It is one of the highest profile street appeals, with volunteers dressed as animals, and special permission from the council to bring dogs along for donators to pet.

Wellington SPCA has had a lot of publicity this year, as they recently won approval from the Wellington City Council to move into a new site in Mt Cook.


Image: Jo Moore

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