Legit collector causes worry

A door-to-door collector working for an animal welfare organisation in Timaru has been spoken to by police regarding his behaviour.

The man, who is representing the World Society for the Protection of Animals NZ (WSPA), was questioned by police this week after several complaints.

Initial concerns regarding the man were made by Sandra Morgan via Facebook.

She said the man came to her house twice. The first time she did not answer; the second time he came in the dark.

However, she saw him standing at the front of her home taking down what she believed to be her address.

"I didn't appreciate that."

The man returned that night and immediately asked what her dog's name was.

"That was his opening statement," Morgan said.

The man, who also brought up the topic of rabies, pulled out an iPad and said he was going to show her something, but she declined, saying she was not interested.

She said the man never offered her a pamphlet or made it clear what the organisation was about. She was also concerned the collector was visiting homes in the dark.

Other residents added their concerns to the online post after also witnessing some unusual behaviour, including one stating they had been asked by a collector for a cigarette. Another also noted they had been asked to provide their personal details to be typed into an iPad.

Morgan understands there is more than one person working in this manner.

Sergeant Geoff McCrostie said a man, believed to be of German descent, was spoken to and found to be legitimate. McCrostie advised people not to worry.

WSPA New Zealand country director Bridget Vercoe said she had also spoken to the collector.

WSPA, which operates worldwide to end animal cruelty, has a fundraising drive in Timaru this month.

She said WSPA representatives, who all wear identification around their necks, have been collecting door-to-door nationally for several months and would continue to do so as it was one of the most effective ways to get community support.

Vercoe said those collectors request residents to sign up as "regular givers", which can involve getting their credit card details.

"It is quite a secure process for people. There's no pressure for them whatsoever to give those details. This is completely a voluntary exercise."

People who do want to support the cause, but do not want to provide their credit card details, can sign up online.

The Timaru Herald