Animal shelter a reality

AFTER almost 10 years of rescuing cats and dogs, Northern Rivers Animal Services is about to get its own shelter.

For dedicated volunteers like Amy Gasnier, of Ballina, it’s going to make a huge difference.

“I’ve been volunteering for about eight years,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but it will be so good to have our own shelter.”

The organisation’s secretary, Robyn Mostyn, agreed.

“It’s something we’ve wanted pretty much since day one,” she said.

“At the moment our carers have to take all the animals back to their own homes.

“It can be really time-consuming and quite expensive with things like food and worming tablets.

“Having our own shelter will be just amazing.”

The organisation is currently in negotiations with Ballina Shire Council to buy a site in the Southern Cross Industrial Estate.

Ms Mostyn hopes the negotiations will be finalised in the near future.

“We need to have a base to work from,” she said.

“When we started Northern Rivers Animals Services in October 2001, we realised there was a huge need for something like this in the area.

“Over time we thought the problem of cats and dogs being dumped would get better.

“But it hasn’t. It’s been a really bad year for us so far.

“We had a good adoption day recently, but then the very next day a mother cat and her 10 kittens turned up on our doorstep.

“People don’t realise how quickly cats can reproduce – so often we see cats as young as five months having a litter.

“It’s unbelievable that people still won’t get their animals desexed.”

This puts more pressure on the organisation’s volunteers.

They currently have about 10 cat carers and four dog carers, and always need more help.

Ms Mostyn said having an animal shelter would help attract more volunteers, such as people who can’t care for abandoned cats and dogs at their own homes.

“We think we’ll easily get another 20 to 40 volunteers once the shelter is built,” she said.

“Our volunteers work so hard. Most of them already have full-time jobs, but they help out because they just love animals.”

With its own shelter, Northern Rivers Animal Services will do more desexing and open to the public every day.

It will also ensure the organisation can cope with demand as the region’s population grows.

“Once we get our shelter, we will need as much help from the community as we can get,” Ms Mostyn said.

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