Animals in good hands

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Furever Homes volunteer, Loanna Mesman picks up dumped kittens from Vet South nurse Courtney Owen in Invercargill after taking them in for emergency treatment. PHOTO: ABBEY PALMER

AN Invercargill animal rescue charity has found a silver lining to the Covid-19 lockdown with a spike in adoptees and fosterers.

Volunteer organisation Furever Homes had experienced an increase in people wanting to foster animals during the past six weeks.

Founder and chairwoman Donna Hawkins said there were more than 100 animals in foster care throughout Southland.

Since lockdown began, volunteers had looked after more than 70 cats and kittens, which had either been found as strays or were taken into care because a family could not afford to look after them any more, she said.

“We’ve had people who have lost their homes or just aren’t able to financially afford to keep their pet,” Ms Hawkins said.

While the organisation never turned away an animal in need, struggling pet owners were offered support to allow them to keep their animals, she said.

“Nobody wants to give their pets away… I think people panic with everything going on but we try to help where we can by donating food to them.

“Sometimes we have food in storage and I can’t stand the thought of it sitting there not being used when there’s animals out there who need it.”

Ms Hawkins said the charity was contacted every day by people who had found dumped animals or needed extra assistance during the lockdown.

Volunteers had been working closely with Emergency Management Southland to assist those in need and their pets during the lockdown, she said.

However, it was nothing new for the rescue service, who was constantly taking in animals and footing bills of up to $23,000 a month.

“We are using social distancing practices and working closely with vets for animals who need emergency treatment.”

She stressed the importance of desexing animals to prevent them from producing litters in the community, which would eventually mean more animals to rehome in the future.

“At the moment, the thing we need the most is wet kitten food and kitty litter for fosterers.”

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