It's hard to believe it's that time of the year again.
For the SPCA, Christmas time means kitten season, so we're preparing for an influx of thousands of animals who desperately need our help. Kittens without families will spend this Christmas season scared, hungry and alone. Will you make an urgent donation today and help the SPCA give animals the love, care and shelter they deserve?
In the summer SPCA centres can be close to capacity and we have to bring on more team members to help care for the number of animals needing help. This situation only gets more urgent - there are up to 100 animals every day needing our help. With no one to care for them, kittens born on the street can suffer terribly.
Little kittens Grey, Rogue and Phoenix very nearly had a tragic end to their very short life. They were seeking shelter in a pile of sticks and leaves when suddenly their home went up in flames. Their hiding place was a bonfire, and they were lucky to escape just in time. SPCA Vet Dr Shalsee, who treated Grey, Rogue and Phoenix, remembers the day they came in with singed whiskers and burnt ears. "They had burns on their faces, charcoal on their cheeks and were suffering from smoke inhalation."
Just a few weeks old, Grey, Rogue and Phoenix were forced to fend for themsevles. They were alone, sick, without a real home and had to scavenge for food.
Will you please send a Christmas gift to help rescue and rehome vulnerable animals like these kittens so they don’t have to be frightened and alone this festive season? Your support makes such a difference.
With so many cats and kittens requiring vet care, our team is spending more on vaccinations, specialist treatment, desexing surgeries, medication and flea and worming. That’s why donations are so critical this Christmas season. The more donations we have, the more resources there are to help these vulnerable animals.
Your gift will go towards essential vet treatment, providing a warm bed, food to fill their bellies, or giving them a toy to play with – perhaps the first they’ve ever had in their life. It’s so difficult to watch innocent animals suffer, especially when kindness and generosity abound over the holiday season. As we get closer to Christmas, please think not only of your loved ones but also the animals with no one else to love them.
Just a few dollars from you can give them the health, happiness, and caring homes that all animals deserve.
Thinking about going on holiday this summer? Those pleading eyes or anxious circles around the house while you pack your bags are never nice. It’s likely your pet can’t stand the thought of you leaving them behind, and chances are you don’t want to either.
Pet friendly accommodation has been sadly lacking in the past, pickings have been slim, so it was reassuring to find that this is now not the case throughout New Zealand.
But before you hit the road, make sure you plan ahead. Check out our tips on travelling with your pet.
Camping and Holiday Parks
Camping holidays are a classic Kiwi favourite. Sleeping in a tent or a caravan, outdoor cooking, and spending time in the sun is the ideal holiday for many people around the country. But did you know that there are campsites that allow your dog to come along for the fun?
There are a variety of campsites, each offering different services to suit every family. Things to keep in mind are what the leash restrictions are at the campsite, where your dog can play, if there are off-leash dog parks or beaches nearby, and where they’ll sleep.
Bay of Islands - Waitangi Holiday Park
The Waitangi Holiday Park Dog Policy reads, “Dogs are welcome in this Holiday Park. We’ve never had a dog that stole our towels and played the TV too loud, or had a noisy fight with his drunken companion. So if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome too!”
The campgrounds and caravan park is a short flat walk along the Te Ti bay shoreline to Paihia town - you and your companion can walk to the supermarket, to the beach, and explore the many bush walks the region has to offer. Either stay in their cabins on the water’s edge, pitch a tent, or roll up in your caravan. Waitangi’s Holiday Park is a great, casual way to enjoy the summer with your beloved pet!
Coromandel – Tapu Campervan Park
Tapu Campervan Park want the whole family to enjoy the old Kiwi tradition of camping. They are passionate about providing an affordable getaway 20 minutes out of Thames for all, pets included!
This camping ground is located right on the beach, but is also surrounded by rivers and swimming holes, which are ideal for your pet to cool off this summer!
Other Campsites and Holiday Parks
The Catlins, South Island – The Whistling Frog Resort: The Catlins is an often forgotten part of the South Island near Invercargill, which offers beautiful beaches, bush walks, and many other amazing attractions. The Whistling Frog Resort is one of few places who welcome dogs in the area, so you can experience all this with your dog by your side! If you bring their bed, they will be able to join you inside the accommodation and in the camping areas.
Hawkes Bay – Glamping at Tuka Tuka Valley: Do you still want the classic Kiwi camping experience but want it to have more home comforts? Tuka Tuka Valley is a luxury campsite located on a small vineyard that is dog friendly! Dogs must be vaccinated, well behaved and kept on a lead at all times due to surrounding farm animals.
Russell – Wairoro Park: Wairoro Park has their very own private beach, and your dog is allowed off-leash on the premises to run around, dig holes in sand, and be part of your beach barbeques. You can even hire a kayak with your dog to explore the sights!
Bed and Breakfast
Staying in a Bed and Breakfast is like a home away from home, but with someone taking care of you. It is the perfect choice of accommodation if you are looking for a relaxing escape, with personalized attention, home cooked meals, and individually decorated rooms. Bed and Breakfasts open up their heart and home to you, and there are some where that includes your pet too!
You will find that these pet-friendly places will most likely also have their own animals wandering around, whether it is chickens, friendly goats, or other dogs your pet can befriend. There might even be some free range eggs for your home-cooked breakfast!
Dunedin - The Barn Bed and Breakfast
The Barn B&B is nestled in the hills above Blue Skin Bay, just 15 minutes from Dunedin City Centre. Tucked away in total seclusion, surrounded by bush, farmland and local beaches, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. There are also two friendly dogs on the property, and by arrangement you are more than welcome to bring your dog with you! The only requirement is they have to be good with the resident animals: chickens, sheep, horses and a goat.
Doctor’s Point beach is a beautiful beach near the B&B Barn, which allows dogs to run around off-leash, making daily adventures with your dog easy. There are also many other places you can travel a short distance to adventure with your furry friend – Aramoana beach, Allan’s beach and Truby King Reserve are only a few.
Other pet-friendly Bed and Breakfasts
Auckland – The Great Ponsonby Arthotel: Pets are welcome at the Great Ponsonby Arthotel! This Bed and Breakfast is just a stroll away from cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops, but also borders a large off-leash dog park for your beloved pet to play. Dogs are also welcome to sleep inside the room if they have their own bed.
Kaikoura – Awatea Country Bed and Breakfast: Travelling with your pets? Awatea Bed and Breakfast is a homestay set in the Kaikoura country, with big gardens and animal paddocks for your furry friend to explore. There are kennels and grazing sites available, and parking for your horse floats. Dogs are also allowed inside if they have their own beds.
Do you feel like a holiday, but need a lot of space to involve the whole family, including the furry ones? Holiday homes are the way to go, and with plenty of pet friendly places, you can bring your companion along with you. Choose from an off-grid adventure in the untouched bush of the West Coast, to a more modern experience in some of New Zealand's popular summer destinations.
Punakaiki, West Coast - Sva's Hut
On the West Coast of the South Island, enjoy a totally off-grid experience at Sva's Hut, a private cabin nestled in native bush overlooking Woodpecker Bay. Spend your evenings listening to the waves while the sun sets, and enjoy all of it with your dog by your side.
A short walk down the driveway takes you to one of the most beautiful West Coast beaches where your dog can frolic in the waves and dive in the sand. Just make sure you keep your dog under control at all times to protect the little blue penguins, seals, weka and kiwi that call the West Coast home.
The Punakaiki to Fox River drive is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline you will see anywhere in the world. There is so much to do in Punakaiki, and it does not cost a cent. Just ask Jed, the owner of Sva’s hut, if you can bring your dog along in advance, and soon enough you will be experiencing a true wild West Coast holiday with your beloved companion.
Waiheke Island - Adams Accommodation
Adam and his family started their Waiheke accommodation about 9 years ago, and have been pet friendly ever since. The whole family loves animals. Their ‘Island Dream Cottage’ is found on the North Coast of Waiheke Island, with a 10 acre farm filled with Alpacas, little horses, pet sheep, a few Guinea Foul, and an ex-SPCA dog called Ira.
There are different accommodation types to choose from, and some are fully fenced. Your beloved pet can even sleep inside with you as long as they have a pet bed!
Waiheke Island is famous for its beautiful beaches, wine and jazz festivals, Sculpture on the Gulf, scenic walks, vineyards, wine tasting and amazing restaurants. It is also very dog friendly, with many vineyards allowing dogs to dine with you, and numerous walks your dog can enjoy.
Other pet friendly holiday homes
Wanaka – Bo’s Bach: Fitted out with lake views, mountain ranges to admire, and only a 1 minute walk to town, Bo’s Bach offers you a wonderful Wanaka experience with your best furry friend. There are also a number of suitable walking tracks to enjoy with your dog nearby, giving you a holiday you will never forget with your pet!
Whangaroa – Coastal Chalet Suites: The Coastal Chalet Suites provide you with the perfect romantic getaway, where your pooch can also join! For many, that quality one-on-one time is still not the same without your dog by your side. They will love to look out at the view while you soak in the hot spa, or roam around the gardens sniffing all the smells.
Hotels offer a luxurious holiday, complete with pampering packages, in-house restaurants and crisp fresh sheets. Some hotels even offer this luxury to your beloved pet to enjoy! Jet Park is a big supporter of the SPCA, and understand that your pet is part of the family. They have two hotels located in Auckland and Rotorua and are passionate about providing a luxurious hotel experience whether their guests have two legs or four.
Auckland - Jet Park Airport Hotel
Jet Park Hotel in Auckland is perfect for when you are visiting the big city, or travelling domestically or internationally as it is only 5 minutes from Auckland Airport. Their adorable ‘pet suite’ includes a pet bed with a duvet and sheets, a food and water bowl, pet treats, and a large field to exercise your companion! Jet Park even offer pet sitting services for those times that you have to leave your pet unattended. If you’re keen to explore some of the many dog-friendly beaches and parks that Auckland has to offer, there are lots nearby to choose from. Mangere Mountain is an SPCA staff favourite!
Rotorua - Jet Park Rotorua Hotel
Rotorua is full of activities that the whole family can enjoy, whether they have four legs or two! Jet Park in Rotorua is a great option for when you want to include your pet in all the adventure Rotorua has to offer. Like Jet Park Airport Hotel in Auckland, your pet is given a 4-star stay with their very own pet bed, a food and water bowl, pet treats and biscuits, and easy outdoor access. The hotel is only a 5 minute walk to the main town centre, so you and your pet can just wander down to the hub of Rotorua and explore the sights.
Other pet friendly hotels
Christchurch – Fino Hotel and Suites: This hotel offers pet friendly accommodation to all animals under 40kgs. There are three suites that are reserved for people travelling with their beloved pet – they come equipped with water bowls, dog beds and kitty litter. Fino Hotel and Suites even offer dog walking and pet sitting services!
If you are looking for somewhere that is similar to a hotel, but has appropriate facilities to prepare your own meals, a motel is the perfect place to stay!
Waiheke Island - Punga Lodge
Spud the Schnoodle is the reason why Punga Lodge became pet friendly. He made his owner realise that a dog is not just a pet, but a family member!
They have a special chalet where your small or medium sized pet is welcome to join you, providing they are sociable and well behaved. The chalet is also at the far end of the property, so your pet won’t be disturbed by other people walking past, and has a private grassed area with a penned off run. The pet friendly unit at Punga Lodge sleeps four people and offers a lounge, kitchen, bathroom, gated deck area with a barbeque and last but not least, your beloved companions very own dog bed!
Punga Lodge is just a short stroll to safe swimming beaches, and a 12 minute walk to the main village of Oneroa. The perfect location to include your pet in all the fun Waiheke has to offer!
Tip: Not able to stay overnight? Make it a day trip – your dog can join you on the passenger ferry to Waiheke Island!
Queenstown – Kinross Cottages
Just a short drive outside of Queenstown, nestled amongst the mountains is this idyllic retreat for the whole family, including the pooch! The historic cottages are located on the old Kinross Station in Gibbston Valley and were established in the late 1860's, and welcome furry companions on request.
The owners’ one-year-old doggy Skye welcomes all guests with a wagging tail and happy face and recommends all the places your furry friends can get up to mischief and have some fun.
The boutique accommodation is set in the middle of a vineyard and is the perfect place to escape with the whole family, whether you are after some peace and quiet or adventuring the great outdoors. The studio cottages on offer are self-contained so you can settle the family in before exploring the area.
Surrounded by mountains, vines & greenery, Kinross Cottages is the ideal venue to spend quality time with your loved ones and furry friends in peaceful surrounds.
There are an abundance of great walks in the area, including the Peregrine Loop for a short walk. Or if you and your pet are looking for a longer excursion, you can start off in Arrowtown and walk all the way to the cottages while taking in the stunning scenery.
Other pet friendly motels
Taihape, North Island – Tarata Fishaway Lodge: There are lots of fun things to do at the Tarata Fishaway Lodge including river swimming, spa pools, clay bird shooting, farm tours, and rafting trips for all ages. But the best part is, Tarata Fishaway Lodge has just built their own dog friendly unit, which is ready for your much loved dog to come and stay! It is fully equipped with a fully fenced courtyard, and a 5 star dog kennel. They also encourage to bring your thrill seeking dog on your rafting adventure, which even includes a dog friendly BBQ lunch, and a dog life jacket!
Finding Gobi is the story of a marathon runner who found himself an unexpected companion dogging him during his seven-day race through the Gobi desert.
The Gobi Desert Ultra-marathon was set to be the biggest race of Dion Leonard’s running career. He’d trained extensively for the week-long race through harsh terrain; he had his eyes on the prize.
When he saw a little beige-coloured, terrier-type dog at the runner’s camp on the first day, he assumed it belonged to one of the race volunteers and didn’t pay it much attention. It came as a surprise when he saw her again at the starting line-up the next morning. Looking around for her owner, he couldn’t see anyone – and she’d firmly attached herself to him. She looked up at him with big, brown pleading eyes but all Dion saw was a trip hazard.
As the race began, she followed Dion for a little while before Dion lost her. "I started to speed off and I'm thinking this dog won't last the whole day but she was still with me at the end. From then on she didn't leave my side," he recalls.
Love and loyalty
Up mountain terrain, through the desert, across streams – she followed Dion through it all. This tiny little stray, who would later be named Gobi in honour of the vast desert they had just crossed together, tailed Leonard for nearly 125km.
Perhaps she ran to the catchy tune ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’, or maybe it was the pop classic ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ that keep her going. Or maybe her motivation was simply the love and loyalty she felt towards her new best friend. As Dion says: “I’ll never know what made her choose me but I’m so glad she did.” She’d found the human she wanted to go home and, like a dog with a bone, she wasn’t giving up.
For Dion, the moment he knew he felt the same was day three of the race. As he approached a 40-metre wide river, with Gobi not far behind, he started to wade through.
However, it wasn’t long before he heard barking and whining from Gobi, who was trapped on the other side – the water was too high for her to swim through.“I was a quarter way across the river when I finally did what I had never done before in a race. I turned around,” he says.
After carrying her across the river, it was clear the man and dog were a team now. Scampering ahead, full of energy; Gobi was the perfect race companion for Dion, especially when the exhaustion hit and it was difficult to keep motivated. “Just by being there, Gobi made me want to keep going.”
On day five, the race organisers stepped in and decided it was too dangerous for the little dog to run these massive distances in the intense heat. Instead, they drove her from the start point to finish point on the two final days of the race. But her dedication to Dion never wavered. “She was extremely loyal. The volunteers said she would wait patiently for hours for me to finish.”
A special bond
Ultimately, Leonard took second place in the race. At the final finish line, event organisers produced a matching medal for Gobi, too. Although Dion did not cross the finish line first, he felt he had won something even greater – a new outlook on life and a new friend that he planned on bringing home to Scotland as soon as arrangements were made.
However, before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept before her flight. Dion, with the help of strangers, set out to track her down, and eventually managed to reunite forever with Gobi.
They say the course of true love never does run smooth and this tale certainly follows that. However, it definitely has a happy ending. Gobi now lives a blissful life with Dion and his family in Edinburgh. She loves playing with Dion’s cat, Lara, and going for walks in the countryside.
Now, Dion can’t imagine his life without Gobi. “We have a special bond. I’m not a hugely spiritual person, I don’t really believe in all that, but I do know that something brought us together. She’s taught me so much and helped me become a better person.”
An Auckland man has disqualified from owning animals for 10 years after his pet dog starved to death. Paul Syman pleaded guilty to ill-treatment of an animal and was also fined $2000.
The case began on 3 June 2016 when a member of Mr Syman’s family contacted the SPCA’s Auckland centre seeking assistance for his dog, thinking she might be dying.
An SPCA Inspector visited Mr Syman’s property and found five-year-old Labrador cross Tasha collapsed and unresponsive. She was in an emaciated condition and inflicted with a substantial flea infestation. Tasha also suffered from a sore on her leg, overgrown nails and fur loss consistent with a collar wound.
Mr Syman surrendered Tasha into the ownership of the SPCA and she was taken immediately to the SPCA Auckland animal hospital. Sadly Tasha died the same day due to the severity of her condition.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Tasha was so emaciated that she had the lowest possible body condition score of 1/5 and clinical signs indicating chronic starvation.
She was also clinically dehydrated, which would have caused stress and discomfort. Her obvious and noticeable flea infestation also resulted in a flea allergic skin disease that would have caused Tasha considerable discomfort.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says Mr Syman showed blatant disregard for animal welfare, leading to the painful and completely unnecessary death of a dog who relied on him for the most basic of life’s necessities.
“Tasha starved to death and endured a huge amount of pain and stress. She probably would have suffered for a considerable period of time. This could have been prevented with proper care from the person responsible for her wellbeing. It is completely unacceptable to treat animals in this way.”
“While the SPCA is pleased that a significant disqualification period was handed down, we would have liked to also see a court-ordered education programme to truly prevent this type of animal cruelty occurring in the future,” says Ms Midgen.
“A 10-year disqualification will ensure that his risk to animals in the future is managed. SPCA Inspectors will monitor Mr Syman to ensure that he adheres to the disqualification. Breaching this would lead to an automatic prosecution and immediate removal of any animal found in his possession.”
More images available upon request. Please note, the image is extremely graphic.
An Auckland man has been sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent condition.
Keshva Rajan pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to three charges. These were willful ill-treatment of an animal, ill-treatment of an animal, and failure to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of an animal are met in a manner that is in accordance with both good practice and scientific knowledge.
Mr Rajan was sentenced to six months home detention, 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay veterinary and court costs to a total value of $3840. He was also disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.
The case began on 2 September 2014 when an SPCA Inspector visited Mr Rajan’s Glenbrook property. Upon arriving, the Inspector found approximately 600 chickens, rooster and ducks being kept in overcrowded conditions with no dry area, no shelter, insufficient water and no adequate food.
The birds had severe feather loss and were in very thin body condition. They were walking around in thick mud and faeces, amongst the bodies of dead birds. They were so hungry that they were trying to feed on the decomposing birds.
The Inspector seized multiple birds in poor health, and took them for veterinary treatment. A veterinarian examined the birds and stated that, in his opinion, the health and prognosis of the birds was so poor they were unlikely to regain full health even with intensive treatment. Sadly, they had to be euthanized to end their suffering.
“These birds endured a huge amount of pain and stress at the hands of the person who was supposed to care for them,” says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.
“A post-mortem examination found the birds had suffered greatly for a number of weeks, if not months. They were severely emaciated, dehydrated, had significant feather loss, and were riddled with lice and worms. Their owner had completely failed to ensure their needs were being met.”
This is the second time the SPCA responded to an animal welfare complaint at a property of Mr Rajan. Between November 2012 and December 2013, Mr Rajan had been under investigation for a number of breaches of the Animal Welfare Act in relation to sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens he was keeping at his Patumahoe property. He had been conducting an illegal poultry and home-kill business on the premises.
In that instance, Mr Rajan was educated, verbal warnings were issued, multiple statutory notices and inspections were conducted over a lengthy period of time and a degree of compliance was achieved. The property was destocked of all animals and sold, and Mr Rajan stated he was closing the business.
However, he later restarted his operation at another property, which was in Glenbrook.
Mr Rajan had also been prosecuted by MPI for offences relating to the commercial aspects of his operation.
“It is disappointing that Mr Rajan did not follow orders after the first series of inspections. Our Inspectors will always try and work with people to achieve the right outcome in the first instance. Unfortunately, Mr Rajan did not cooperate and we were compelled to prosecute,” says Ms. Midgen.