WARNING: Some images may be shocking.
An Auckland rescue center has dismissed claims it neglected its animals, but scaled back operations after admitting it had taken on too many at once.
Donna Young, a former SPCA inspector and founder of New Lives Animal Rescue, says she discovered sick animals when she visited Pixies Animal Rescue in Dairy Flat in September.
Following the incident, Young asked its founder Charmaine Wolmarans, also a former SPCA inspector in South Africa, to hand over some animals to other rescues.
* Coming from the cold: take care of the vagaries of the feline world
* SPCA faces criticism for allegedly slow responses to neglected animals
* Dozens of cats brought up from the Coromandel building
Young did not believe the animals were being deliberately neglected, but believed the Pixies had taken on more than they could handle.
“The SPCA absolutely needs to watch him, I would go there every two weeks, at the very least.”
Paws 4 Life manager Jay Johanssen received 34 cats from Pixies, 21 of which were euthanized.
He said the cats showed clear signs of neglect, including upper respiratory tract infections, ringworm, feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus. Johanssen also provided photos of several of the cats, which showed they were in poor condition.
“Every cat had something wrong with it.”
Johanssen said he complained to the SPCA on several occasions, but said he received little response.
“I’m completely dissatisfied with the lack of action given the evidence they handed them on a platter.”
He thought the Pixies should be shut down.
The SPCA said it did everything in its power to resolve the situation.
Wolmarans said Thing the animals were in bad shape because she had saved them that way.
“The idea that I take cats is because they’re sick and neglected. That’s why we take these animals, because they’re damn sick.
However, Wolmarans admitted that at the time Young got involved, she had more animals than she could handle.
This was because she had agreed to take cats from a rescue in the Bay of Plenty, who was trying to get a cat collector to abandon them, but that didn’t happen.
The Wolmarans continued to rescue more cats locally, including a colony of around 33 cats causing chaos at a bus depot and six kittens with ringworm from another rescue.
About a month later, the Bay of Plenty rescue took possession of the hoarder’s cats and sent about 40 of them to the Pixies without notice, Wolmarans said.
Wolmarans then had more cats than she had expected, many of them really sick, with rotting teeth and sunken, missing eyes.
“These cats were in the worst condition ever.”
Auckland was on lockdown at the time, meaning Wolmarans’ regular vet was only available for emergency treatment of animals that were ‘dying’ or ‘bleeding’.
The Pixies then asked an intruder to kill eleven ducks and rabbits, prompting Wolmarans to accept Young’s offer to distribute some of her animals to other rescues, as she feared the attacker would return for more. .
Wolmarans believed that with time and care, the 21 cats Johanssen had euthanized could have recovered and been adopted.
Many sick cats were on treatment plans at the time she returned them, she added.
“They don’t want to walk through the tough yards with these sick cats. I am the opposite. They had no reason to put 21 cats down, no reason at all.
Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rehoming founder Amanda Fraser-Jones received dogs from Wolmarans, which she said were in poor health and unsocialized.
She believed that the Pixies did not take care of animals properly and that the Wolmarans should be stopped from rescuing animals.
Wolmarans said the Fraser-Jones dogs were puppies born to a dog chained under a house that was anti-social because they got rocks thrown at them every time they “poked their heads out”.
The Pixies volunteers had not been able to take them for walks to train and socialize them during the confinement.
“They weren’t unhealthy, none of the dogs were unhealthy,” Wolmarans said.
The SPCA helped relocate dogs abandoned by Wolmarans. National Inspection Manager Alan Wilson said there were no welfare concerns for the dogs.
The SPCA had received several complaints about the Pixies and launched an investigation, but it was resolved.
“The SPCA did everything in their power under animal welfare law to ensure this case was properly investigated, and we are pleased with our response.”
Wilson added that the SPCA does not have the authority to shut down animal rescues because they are unregulated in New Zealand.
Wolmarans said she was grateful for the support and guidance from the SPCA and had made a number of changes to the rescue facilities, including painting and increasing the size of the cages.
The SPCA had arranged for Pixies’ veterinarian to intervene and euthanize animals that were beyond recovery or sick beyond Wolmarans’ means of treatment.
Wolmarans had also decided to only take 20 cats at a time, down from her previous capacity of 46, which she admitted was more than she could handle.