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'Heart and soul' win award for SPCA Central Hawke's Bay

Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

Most of us would prefer a whole week of Fridays to a whole week of Mondays. And that's just what SPCA Central Hawke's Bay achieved when it stretched its Free Feline Friday out for seven days, finding loving homes for 30 adult cats.

The promotion was just one of the reasons why SPCA New Zealand honoured its Central Hawke's Bay Centre in Waipukurau with a coveted inaugural Savings Lives Award at the SPCA's National Conference in Wellington on 7th May.

Another was an ongoing series of Snip & Chip weeks, with de-sexing and micro-chipping of dogs and cats provided at a steeply reduced fee.

"Both snipping and chipping clearly help to save animal's lives. It's obviously so much better to reduce the numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens being born than to have them euthanised, whilst micro-chipping can be crucial to helping us locate owners when animals stray," says the Centre's Manager, Renee Hickey.

“We introduced both the Free Feline Friday promotion and Snip & Chip, in response to the SPCA’s adoption of its Saving Lives strategy at its 2010 conference in Rotorua. We’re truly delighted to have been chosen for one of the inaugural awards for SPCA Centres working towards the Saving Lives goal,” she adds.

SPCA New Zealand's National President, Bob Kerridge, describes the formal adoption of a ten point Saving Lives agenda, at the 2010 Annual Conference in Rotorua, as marking out a major philosophical direction in how the SPCA operates. 

"Saving lives has always been a crucial aspect of our work. However, we're now making it absolutely central. We want to ensure that every animal with which the SPCA comes into contact receives the optimum level of opportunity for enjoying a full and happy existence. 

"No dogs or cats should have to die because there isn't the room or funding available for looking after them," he says.

"Just a year in from adopting the agenda, it's tremendous to see the progress our Centres are making and to be able to honour the outstanding achievers with these inaugural annual awards.

"Our Central Hawke's Bay Centre's award is in a special 'Can Do' category. It reflects the fact that, when Renee and her all volunteer team take on an idea, they throw their hearts and souls into it," Mr Kerridge says.

Other Saving Lives initiatives successfully adopted by SPCA Central Hawke's Bay include increasing significantly the numbers of foster carers for animals and refusing to euthanise stray wild cats brought in from local farms.

"We're gradually getting our rural community to understand that TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) is a more effective way of limiting stray cat numbers, as, if you destroy them, other cats will simply take their place. In addition, of course, TNR is another way of saving lives," says Renee.