RSPCA Inspector Jema Rossow has had 40 cases since March. Picture: Shane Zahner
RSPCA Inspector Jema Rossow has had 40 cases since March. Picture: Shane Zahner

COVID’s cruel twist for Gympie animals

PET adoption rates have surged during COVID-19 as people spend more time at home, but one rescue centre says the number of animals being surrendered or rescued has also increased.

Best Friends Felines founder Nikki Chapple said she had seen a massive increase in adoptions and inquiries during the last few months.

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The Brisbane animal centre investigates cruelty complaints to rescue and rehome cats from around the southeast, including many from Gympie.

“Last year was our best year. We had 384 adoptions during 2019, but now are at 372 already for 2020,” Ms Chapple said.

“It’s been non-stop. When we post cats up for adoption we get probably 40 to 50 inquiries within an hour.

Best Friends Felines founder Nikki Chapple said adoptions rose dramatically during lockdown.
Best Friends Felines founder Nikki Chapple said adoptions rose dramatically during lockdown.

“But we've seen an increase in people trying to surrender pets because of being in domestic violence situations themselves, or more people saying can you temporarily hold them for us than any other year.”

RSPCA media and community relations spokesperson Michael Beatty said the Gympie centre has also received many cruelty complaints in the past few months.

“Since March 1st our Gympie inspector Jema Rossow has been assigned 40 jobs,” Mr Beatty said.

RSPCA Gympie had an influx of inquiries and virtual adoption screenings.
RSPCA Gympie had an influx of inquiries and virtual adoption screenings.

He said the region’s previous statistics were not available because complaints of abuse or neglect in Gympie were handled by the Sunshine Coast team, and there was now a dedicated inspector for the region.

RSPCA Gympie animal care centre manager Vanessa Richardson said adoption numbers were similar to last year but the centre had received an influx of adoption inquiries recently, and potential owners were screened thoroughly.

“We’ve been offering virtual adoptions for the last few months with a lot of pre-adoption counselling online and over the phone,” she said.

Gympie Times


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