Wairarapa animals in need have lost a big supporter as a "last resort" sanctuary closes its doors.
The owners of Masterton animal shelter The Q's Zoo announced their decision to end the venture, via Facebook, yesterday.
Juliet and Hamish Qualtrough set up the animal rescue service on their rural Masterton property last year following the closure of the Wairarapa SPCA animal shelter.
The couple met through the Wairarapa SPCA centre, where they both had worked - she as an animal welfare inspector and he as a veterinarian.
Their Facebook post said "we have made the difficult decision to close the Zoo" for personal health reasons.
"The work we have done has taken its toll on our family physically, financially and emotionally, and it is now time for us to re-focus on what is important to us; our health, and our own friends, family and animals," the message read.
Since opening the home-based animal welfare centre last July, the Qualtroughs have cared for more than 300 animals that came into their care.
Mrs Qualtrough thanked the community for its "incredible support", as many individuals, businesses and organisations had donated money and resources to the centre over the past year.
"I sincerely hope that you will all show the same incredible support to whomever may now step up and take on the task for the animals.
"Sadly, it needs to come from someone or somewhere who have more time, money, resources and people available than we do."
The Q's Zoo still has animals available for adoption, and they will remain at the shelter for a few more days until alternative arrangements are made.
The facebook message said: "While we have seen a lot of things that have broken our hearts, we have seen a lot more that have made our hearts sing.
"We have spent our entire lives dedicated to animals and their welfare, and I very much doubt that we will ever stop.
"However, it will not be to the extent that it has been this past year."
Wellington SPCA chief executive and administrator for the Wairarapa SPCA, Steve Glassey said it was sad to see the Q's Zoo was no longer able to offer support to the Wairarapa community.
"It is a timely reminder that finding solutions for unwanted animals is not and should not be the responsibility of a single entity.
"It is a community problem and needs to be addressed as a community," Mr Glassey said.
The Qualtroughs could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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