Pets reunited with owners after quake

By Paul Harper

Around 40 per cent of pets that went missing after the Canterbury Earthquake have been reunited with their families, the Canterbury SPCA says.

Canterbury SPCA centre manager Geoff Sutton said around 460 pets have been reported lost since the September 4 quake. Of those, 40 per cent had been returned to their owners.

"I'm pretty pleased with the rate of return," Mr Sutton said. "The return rate is usually around 10 per cent.

"We are sorry it cannot be 100 per cent, but that is not possible."

The majority of those animals lost are cats, as missing dogs are more likely to return home after natural disasters and are also more likely to be spotted by council dog control.

"There are controls on dogs, while cats are not limited - they have no boundaries," Mr Sutton said. "There are always a lot of cats in any city that go missing."

He said the Pet Emergency Earthquake Fund set up following the quake had raised around $20,000.

"We've been absolutely heartened and humbled by the support," he said.

"The biggest drain on us has been on reception, giving advice to people."

Mr Sutton said staff have been "very committed" to assisting the community and reuniting owners with their pets.

The costs for looking after the lost animals and reuniting them are ongoing, he said.

"We haven't had to worry about where that money is coming from because the public support has been amazing."

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