SPCA moves to become self-sufficient
Southland SPCA will open a pet crematorium and cemetery as part of a move to become more self-sufficient and to meet demand in the region.
The organisation, which moved into a new purpose-built $1.9 million building this week, has also employed former Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Hay as its operations manager. He will take up his position on January 20.
Mr Hay said the SPCA had traditionally "run on a shoestring" and never broke even. Now that it had moved from a tin shed into a modern building with professional facilities, it was time for a change.
Mr Hay has been tasked with moving the organisation from being funds reliant to being a more self-sufficient business.
"There is now a clear focus to maximise the full potential of the new facility and a springboard to launch new initiatives and services for the community."
One of the biggest plans was to open a pet crematorium and cemetery near its new building in coming weeks on about 10 acres of SPCA land not being used.
There was a huge demand for the service in Southland because the closest pet crematorium was in Mosgiel.
One of the crematorium owners said it received about 20 pets a year from the Southland region.
Another important aspect of the Southland SPCA business plan was its education facility.
It would be used to train the public and professionals on animal welfare, Mr Hay said.
Although the goal of the organisation was self sufficiency, it would still look to the generosity of the Southland community to keep it going.
Southland SPCA chairwoman Rachel Hucklebridge said the simple, solar panel building would help keep costs down.
Mr Hay had shown his commitment to his new role by funding his own trip to Australia Zoo and the SPCA in Queensland, where he researched medical facilities.
He reported back to Southland SPCA that its facilities were on par, she said. "The new SPCA building is also one of the biggest and best in New Zealand."
The complex will have shower rooms for the dogs, under-floor heating for the pens, an operating theatre, drying room, feeding rooms, a large outdoor dog play area, and an education room.
The SPCA is asking for more volunteers to help man the new building.
The Southland Times