Albert And Logan News, 03 Feb 10 by Koren Helbig
TANYA Watkins’ heart sank when she opened a small box, punctured with just five tiny holes for ventilation, and found three half-grown kittens huddled inside.
The Southside Pet Barn owner said the young cats—the latest in a string of animals to be dumped outside her Rochedale South store—were riddled with fleas and left without water.
“We’ve got security footage and you can see a big van pull up, the person walk in and just leave this small box out the front,’’ she said.
Over the past four years, Mrs Watkins has found kittens, doves, guinea pigs, chickens and even a 6ft coastal carpet python dumped outside her Underwood Rd pet store.
The fed-up mum-of-two has pleaded with pet owners to be more responsible after two dumpings in as many weeks.
She said more than 30 rats—many of them babies—were abandoned in a “filthy’’ cage early in January.
Mrs Watkins said dumped animals often sweltered in the sun for hours before staffers arrived to open the shop at 8.30am.
“For some people pets are a low priority, especially with the recession,’’ she said.
“But it’s against the law to dump animals and we do give any details we get to the RSPCA who can follow through and fine offenders.’’
Animal Welfare League spokeswoman Gabrielle Wheaton said the tough economic climate had affected dumping levels.
She said the league had been inundated by dogs and cats in the last three months and was refusing all but emergency cases as its Coombabah and Stapylton centres reached capacity.
“We collate data on why animals are surrendered and we’ve actually had to create a new category for people who give up their pets because they’ve become homeless,’’ she said.
Ms Wheaton said the league took in more than 400 cats and dogs from the Logan area last year and nearly 8000 from across south-east Queensland.
She said 90 of those were surrendered because the owner could no longer afford to care for their pet, while another 20 were handed over because their owners became homeless.
Agencies that can help:
– The RSPCA takes unwanted animals, but owners must pay a fee to help cover the cost of their care. See http://www.rspcaqld.org.au or phone the Fairfield shelter on 3426 9911.
– Pet Rescue offers tips to help solve common pet problems and ways to safely rehome your animal. Visit http://www.petrescue.com.au.
– The Animal Welfare League can place animals needing a new home on its shelter waiting list. See http://www.awlqld.com.au.
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