Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Donation helps keep shelter alive

A generous $15,000 donation will help keep a struggling and cash-strapped Hawke's Bay animal refuge centre purring.

The Eastern and Central Community Trust is providing the financial assistance to the Hastings SPCA for salaries of trained inspectors, an unusual move for the charitable organisation.

Trust donations manager Bev Watkins said it was not common for donations from the Community Trust to be given to organisations in dire financial positions but the assistance reflects the importance of ongoing SPCA activities.

"It's in recognition of the difficulties the SPCA are currently experiencing," she said. "We wouldn't normally make a donation for salaries at that level, but they perform an important part of our community."

Hastings SPCA branch president Sharon Arcus said the money would fund roles critical to its operations - the inspectors who investigate complaints of injured or mistreated animals and must be warranted to be able to take appropriate action.

"We're so grateful for the donation," she said. "We need to keep the shelter open for the animals and it is so hard to get donations."

More than 2000 animals are helped, treated or cared for in some way each year by the Hastings SPCA, including abandoned or lost animals.

The biggest costs were for wages, animal care, food and vet treatment, with the branch budgeting carefully but with only enough money to cover expenses for the next two months.

"We're really stretched to meet the costs each month. We have lots of volunteers but we have to have some full-time paid staff and we are training up a new inspector.

"The branch is working positively but we are under no illusion that there is a lot of work to do, and with urgency, to keep the shelter alive."

Upcoming fundraising activities include the Cupcake Day later in August and an annual appeal from November 5 to 10.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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