Helping Hands Animal Rescue Bowen president Kirsty Short with dog Piper and her nine puppies. The rescue organisation is calling out for more foster carers. Picture: Elyse Wurm
Helping Hands Animal Rescue Bowen president Kirsty Short with dog Piper and her nine puppies. The rescue organisation is calling out for more foster carers. Picture: Elyse Wurm

Plea for foster carers more urgent after eased restrictions

A WHITSUNDAY rescue shelter is desperately searching for people willing to foster animals, as volunteers expect to face a massive post-COVID spike in abandoned pets.

Helping Hands Animal Rescue Bowen has put a second call out for foster carers looking to house cats and kittens.

The shelter has about 35 cats and kittens in care and assistant adoption co-ordinator Sharron Morrison said without people to foster them, the kittens would be at risk of never finding a home.

"It may come to the point that without foster carers, these cats will sit in these cages … for months and months and months and may not be adopted," she said.

"They're going to get bypassed all the time the longer they're in care."

Animal Rescue Whitsunday owner Christina della Valle is predicting a surge in animals surrendered to her shelter after COVID-19. Picture: File
Animal Rescue Whitsunday owner Christina della Valle is predicting a surge in animals surrendered to her shelter after COVID-19. Picture: File

The added pressure to house animals has been made even more urgent as Ms Morrison predicts there will be a spike in abandoned and surrendered pets when coronavirus restrictions completely ease.

Ms Morrison said as people begin to travel and find work, they will realise that looking after animals is a full-time responsibility.

While Animal Rescue Whitsunday owner Christina della Valle was not experiencing the same influx of animals, she also predicted there would be spike in pets taken to her shelter after the pandemic.

"A lot of people keep their pets because it's company," she said.

"Once restrictions ease (and) people can travel widely again, I know I will again have some more kittens."

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Ms della Valle's rescue centre spans 260 acres and unlike Helping Hands, she has more room to house animals for longer periods of time before they are permanently adopted.

However, she wished this wasn't the case, saying dumping animals was becoming more common in the region, especially in Bowen.

"The more rural we are, the less animals are considered part of the family," she said.

"If you are not willing to treat your future pet, be it a cat, be it a dog, be it a horse, then don't adopt one.

"If you can't afford to feed them, vaccinate them and desex them, don't get a pet.

"If you don't treat them like family, don't get a pet."

Anyone interested in helping out Helping Hands Animal Rescue Bowen is encouraged to message the group through its Facebook page or phone 0459 538 093.


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