UNCERTAIN FUTURE: These dogs at Happy Paws Haven, while not practising social distancing, still need a home. The shelter has reported an increase in people surrendering their dogs since the coronavirus crisis started.
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: These dogs at Happy Paws Haven, while not practising social distancing, still need a home. The shelter has reported an increase in people surrendering their dogs since the coronavirus crisis started.

Coronavirus has Happy Paws chasing its tail

WITH an increase in dog surrenders, volunteers at home with the kids and donations decreasing, coronavirus is taking a toll at Happy Paws Haven.

Sally Rogers said the number of people wanting to surrender their dogs in the past few weeks had been “unprecedented” and the shelter was now “full to the brim”.

“It has been just ghastly, I have a queue of people who want to surrender their pets,” she said.

“We have built a new pen so we could take a few extras but that is now full.”

Fielding up to 10 inquiries about surrendering pets each day, Ms Rogers said they had taken in around 20 new dogs with a further 15-20 “waiting in the wings”.

Despite being classed as an essential service the situation was being made worse by restrictions on travel, decreasing the ability for people to pick up dogs for adoption.

They had even implemented their own social distancing measures by asking people they make an appointment before coming to look at animals for adoption.

Ms Rogers put the influx of surrenders down to the coronavirus crisis as people prepared to “tighten their belts”. She said one person had given up their dog so they could move into a cheaper apartment, closer to town services.

“The pounds are full and are warning people if they surrender the animals they will be put down,” she said.

“Although we have acreage we do not have the financial resources or the volunteers to support building more pens. It is just so sad.”

The shelter was also feeling the squeeze financially as people cancelled their regular contributions and volunteers stayed home to look after family.

Ms Rogers was encouraging people to help out by donating money, time or adopting a dog or cat.

“Having gotten through all the challenges we have faced over the last 14 years, we would hate to have to close due to the virus crisis.”

“We really need your help to survive and continue to save the lives of the cats and dogs of the Clarence Valley and beyond.

“Please help if you can.”



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