Have pity on a homeless hound

17:00, May 02 2014
Invercargill SPCA
CANINE COMPANIONSHIP: SPCA volunteers Justin McNally, with two-year-old Scooby Doo, a female lab cross and Kairika Vakker, with 15-month-old Rocco, a male lab. Both dogs need homes.

Invercargill dogs are being discarded to the new Southland SPCA kennels ahead of the annual dog registration payment date.

The Invercargill shelter, which opened in February, is at capacity with 44 dogs in desperate need of new homes. Management has been forced to house some of the dogs in the old kennels that were set for demolition.

SPCA Southland manager Mary Bradley said they had hoped it wouldn't get to that point but they had no other choice.

They had dogs on waiting lists and dogs in foster care and they were at the limit.

She said there seemed to be a pattern around dog registration time each year, where numbers of dogs brought to the SPCA increased.

While this year people were dropping off their dogs at the SPCA earlier than usual, she believed there was a connection.

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"It's dog registrations [July 1] and Christmas time, that's when we see the increases."

People unwilling to pay dog registrations dropped their dogs at the SPCA, while others did so when their lifestyles changed, she said.

Southland SPCA operations manager Richard Hay said it came down to responsible dog ownership.

People seemed to be of the opinion that because it was in the new building the SPCA could take on unlimited dogs.

While they tried to give every dog a chance they simply could not take any more at this stage and were telling people to call back in three weeks, he said.

Invercargill City Council environmental health manager John Youngson said the city pound had not experienced a similar increase in dog numbers, but did see a slight increase in puppies closer to registration time.

Basically people would "get rid of" unwanted pups at that time of year, he said.

"It's not a significant increase but we do get, when registrations come up, more puppies."

Invercargill had one of the lowest dog registration fees in the country, though an increase has been flagged in this year's draft annual plan, he said.

If approved, standard fees would increase from $84 to $90 while responsible owner fees would increase from $60 to $65, he said.

Dog owners should be responsible and realistic about whether owning a dog was something they could afford, he said.

In the meantime, the SPCA were desperate for foster homes to look after and socialise excess dogs until permanent homes could be found.

To volunteer, contact SPCA Southland.

The Southland Times