SPCA centres band together

Taking shape . . . SPCA Otago animal care manager Hannah Hunsche and pup Max look over progress on building the new education and animal reception building at the Opoho animal shelter. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The rebuild at SPCA Otago’s Opoho animal shelter continues against a backdrop of major change for the animal welfare organisation.

Last Saturday, delegates at the RNZSPCA annual meeting voted to form one national organisation from its 45 independent centres.

RNZSPCA acting chief executive Andrea Midgen the decision had come after two years of discussion around making the organisation more sustainable.

“As one organisation, we will be able to access centralised funding opportunities and benefit from economies of scale, enabling us to have the resources to do more for the animals,” Ms Midgen said.

SPCA Otago chief executive Sophie McSkimming amalgamation was “a matter of survival” for some branches, as well as allowing the organisation to speak with one voice.

“We will be able to work together for a future for animals,” Ms McSkimming said.

The move would result in no change in the function of the Opoho animal shelter, which cost $1million per year to run.

No staff would be affected, apart from Ms McSkimming herself.

“My job will change, although in what way is yet to be determined.”

national structure would come into effect in November, she said.

Excitement is growing at SPCA Otago as the new animal centre and education building continues to take shape.

Builders Stevenson Williams Ltd $639,000 building in April and work was progressing well. The roof was now in place, Ms McSkimming said.

Tenders were being called for construction of a new dog arrivals and isolation centre, designed by McKenzie Architects, she said.

The final phase of the redevelopment of the Opoho animal shelter would involve the building of a centre for cats.

SPCA Otago fundraised for the $1.5million redevelopment last year, with support from The Star, reaching about $1.3 million.

A further $180,000 was needed to reach the final target, and fundraising continued, including a planned charity auction and dinner on July 21.

Staff were soldiering on while building continued, with the biggest issue at present being car parking at the Opoho site, Ms McSkimming said.

“We are hoping that the building project will be completed by the end of this year. It’s exciting to see it all taking shape.”