An animal welfare agency is calling on people to seek help rather than abandoning pets after a sudden spike in the number of cats and dogs found dumped throughout Whangarei this month.
Since April 4, members of the public have brought into Whangarei SPCA two puppies and 12 kittens found dumped in four different places. Some were being cared for in foster homes because they are too young to be rehomed.
Andrea Honeybun of Whangarei SPCA said the first case of abandoned pets came to light on April 4 when two 8-week-old puppies were discovered outside a house. The homeowner took them to the SPCA on Kioreroa Rd.
The next day, she said five kittens aged 8 weeks were found in a cardboard box at the Kioreroa refuse station run by Whangarei District Council.
Station staff handed the kittens over to the SPCA. Then last week, a woman went to the Whananaki South Reserve where she discovered five kittens inside a cardboard box beside rubbish bins.
"If the kittens hadn't been meowing she wouldn't have realised they were there."
The kittens were 4 weeks old and are being cared for at a foster home. Also last week two kittens were found inside a box outside the door of a house.
They were 8 weeks old.
"We've also had quite a few incidents lately where people have moved out and have left their animals, both cats and dogs, behind," she said.
"Hate to think of boxes of kittens being left to fend for themselves and they could be run over, starved to death and, if they survive, increases your feral population if no one catches them."
Ms Honeybun said the key is for people to desex their animals.
The 4 and 5-week-old kittens needed to be with their mothers until they were 8 weeks old, she said.
The breeding season for kittens usually ran from November through to March and April.
"If they need advice for their animals, please give us a ring and we'll be more than happy to help and provide the advice."
Abandoning animals without making provision for their care is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, punishable by one year in jail and/or a $50,000 fine.