Animal Refuge caretaker Laurie Heffernan wonders why there has not been the usual spate of Christmas dumping.
Animal Refuge caretaker Laurie Heffernan wonders why there has not been the usual spate of Christmas dumping. Valerie Horton

Animal refuge has lower numbers

HERVEY Bay Animal Refuge is not exactly bursting at the kennels with abandoned pets but that is exactly why caretaker Laurie Heffernan is worried.

Mr Heffernan said the trend at Christmas time was for many families to ditch their cats and dogs when they took off on holidays, however this year numbers were down.

“It is not as busy as other years but it has me wondering where the animals are ending up.

“Maybe they’re roaming the streets.

“Cats and kittens, especially kittens, they get into the wrong sort of hands and you don’t know what cruelty they will be subjected to.”

A couple of weeks ago Mr Heffernan found three kittens dumped in a shoebox and left in the refuge’s letterbox.

He said if he had not spotted them during the daylight they would have been left there to die of heat exhaustion.

“If some people do that you don’t know what else other people will do.

“They’ve got to make laws tougher.

“People can just dump animals and have no feelings and drive off and leave them.”

Mr Heffernan said if people no longer wanted their pets they could notify the refuge and provide the animals with water and food.

He also said it was not just holiday time when cats and dogs were abandoned; it also happened when registration time rolled around every year.

“There are a lot of irresponsible people and something needs to be done about it. It’s out of control.”

There are currently five dogs at the refuge, six adult cats and three kittens. If anybody is interested in buying a pet Mr Heffernan advises researching the breed to know what behaviour to expect.

He said the refuge, off Hervey Bay-Maryborough Road, did all it could to help re-home an animal, including staying open later hours.

Despite the refuge’s efforts however, more volunteers were needed.

Manager Maree Hill said staff were required to help adopt out pets, maintain the three-acre property, build 18 new council-approved kennels and fundraise.

She also said anybody interested in checking out what animals were available could call by during the Sunday Nikenbah markets when more staff were on hand.

The Hervey Bay Animal Refuge was opened in 1975 and is run by volunteers. It is not associated with the Fraser Coast Regional Council or Maryborough Animal Refuge.

To contact the refuge people can call Mr Heffernan on 4128 2722 or Ms Hill on 4128 4564.



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