No one will be expected to impersonate the late great Michael Jackson, but the SPCA is actively recruiting dog owners who are prepared to (collectively) walk their four-legged friends to the moon.
Walk Your Dog to the Moon is aimed at enticing people and pups to walk 385,500km to raise money for animals in need.
More than 8000 animal welfare complaints relating directly to dogs were lodged last year, almost 5000 more than for any other species. And the demand for SPCA support, including the number of animals turning up at local shelters, continues to rise every year.
Last year the SPCA received a record 15,500-plus animal welfare complaints.
"Seeing a rise in the number of animal welfare complaints year on year shows we continue to have significant animal cruelty issues in New Zealand," CEO Andrea Midgen said.
"Creating engaging fund-raisers for the public is vital to ensure that we continue to help more than 45,000 animals that come through our doors each year."
Registered Moonwalkers will be invited to an official launch event in their region in the first weekend of November, for a group walk and to meet fellow fundraisers and their dogs.
"We wanted to bring our supporters a fundraising initiative that is relevant to them, and in this case provides a healthy activity for them and their dog to do while raising much-needed money for SPCA. "We have high hopes for Walk Your Dog to the Moon, and hope the public get behind it," Ms Midgen added.
The SPCA would also be introducing Furbassadors, created to encourage those who don't have a dog of their own to get involved. The Furbassadors are cartoon creations of SPCA rescue dogs that have been rehomed.
The fundraiser has been designed to offer a meaningful and interactive virtual experience that will show participants how their efforts are impacting animals at local shelters, and an online tracker that will keep them up to date with how many kilometres others have walked via the website's homepage.
"We firmly believe that a fundraiser with a direct connection to the animals we protect will excite existing supporters and attract a new generation of SPCA heroes," Ms Midgen said, adding that the goal was to raise at least $150,000, which would be used to help rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals.
The $12 registration fee covers a doggy pedometer, doggy bandanna and a welcome pack. To register go to www.walktothemoon.co.nz.