SPCA defends not taking in stray pup

Woman shocked at refusal to take stray

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014
Mandy Gibson
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
SHOCKED: Mandy Gibson couldn't believe it when the SPCA refused to take in a stray puppy.

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A Southland woman has lashed out at the SPCA after she says it refused to accept a stray dog into its new million-dollar compound.

Mandy Gibson said a homeless pup turned up at her daughter-in law's Invercargill home a week ago and had hung around the property ever since.

Gibson decided to do the right thing, so picked up the pup and took it to the SPCA on Wednesday.

However, she was shocked when the woman behind the counter refused the pup, saying it was an abandoned animal issue, not an SPCA issue.

Furious, Gibson put the dog on the counter and walked out, but said the SPCA staff member followed her outside and said she would end up in court for abandoning an animal.

An upset Gibson, speaking soon after the incident, questioned the role of the SPCA if it was refusing to take homeless animals in need.

"They have got this fantastic new million-dollar facility, that's all very nice, but they wouldn't take an animal."

The SPCA staff member who Gibson dealt with confirmed she had spoken to her after she dumped the pup on the counter, but she denied saying Gibson would end up in court for abandoning an animal.

Southland SPCA operations manager Richard Hay said they had refused to take the pup into the shelter because legislation had not allowed them to.

Gibson had arrived at the counter with a stray dog which should have been taken to the city pound, not the SPCA, Hay said. The SPCA could only accept animals from their owners or from people acting for the owners.

"Dogs that are wandering around are stray dogs and that's a city council issue and we aren't allowed by legislation to go into that space."

If the SPCA had taken in the stray pup and found it a new home it would be liable if its original owner came looking for it and it had been given away, he said.

The role of the SPCA was to relocate animals that people wanted to surrender and to follow up complaints about animal neglect, Hay said.

City council animal compliance team leader Steven Boyd confirmed that if anyone found a stray dog they had to either return it to its owner or give it to the council, which would hold it for seven days before deciding what to do with it.

As for the fate of the stray pup, Hay said he rang the city council after Gibson left it on the counter and animal control officers picked it up and took it to the pound.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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