LOCAL NSW RSPCA volunteers are sad their connection with the Shoalhaven Animal Shelter is set to end.
Volunteers and staff at the West Nowra shelter were told late last year the NSW RSPCA would not be putting in a tender to run Shoalhaven City Council’s new shelter in Nowra Hill.
The Nowra Hill shelter, once built, will replace the current one in West Nowra.
The news hit volunteers like Putch Lyle and Maureen Turner hard.
“The staff here are fantastic and it’s appalling they are not going to be out there (at the new centre),” Putch said.
“I think it's really sad for the animals and for the community as well.”
Maureen always wanted to worked with animals and started as a volunteer four years ago.
“I am really disappointed,” Maureen said about the RSPCA’s decision.
“It's not going to be fair to the animals and it’s the animals we think about.”
Putch said people trusted the RSPCA and added it was sad this trust could be lost.
I think it's really sad for the animals and for the community as well.Putch Lyle
She explained how devastated pet owners come to the shelter when they can no longer care for their beloved animals but leave knowing the RSPCA would find new loving homes for their pets.
Putch added when people get a new pet from the RSPCA they also know it’s healthy and procedures such as microchipping have been completed.
She is not suggesting the new shelter managers won’t also have this same trust with the community.
However, she believes RSPCA is a respected brand not only in the Shoalhaven but all over NSW.
Putch said the RSPCA also had a strong network around the state which helped get animals get a new home.
“If some other RSPCA shelter had a family looking for a breed of pet they would ring around and we might have what they are looking for,” she said.
Putch said people also donate to the RSPCA because it’s a trusted brand.
“If the shelter is not run by the RSPCA it may not get those donations,” Putch said
Putch did not rush into becoming a RSPCA volunteer.
“I came out here (to West Nowra) a few times just to look at the way they treated the animals, which I thought was fantastic,” she said.
Maureen and Putch both have not ruled out volunteering with the new group that runs the shelter.
“I would go and have a very good look at it first to make sure it was up to a standard I was happy to work with,” Putch said.
The staff here are fantastic and it’s appalling they are not going to be out there (at the new centre)Putch Lyle
Maureen said she would take the same approach.
“I would check it out first,” she said.
Maureen stressed that no matter what happens in the future the welfare of the animals must come first
Meanwhile, there is no end date at this stage to the RSPCA’s connection to the Shoalhaven shelter.
However, for due diligence, the operation of the service has gone to tender and is currently under review.
Council is currently building a new modern pound facility at Nowra Hill. The shelter is not under threat of closure and is still a valuable service provided by council.
The South Coast Register contacted NSW RSPCA several times for comment but did not receive a response.