HELP WANTED: A Warwick animal rescue service is calling for donations to help continue caring for their cats amid COVID-19. PICTURE: Southern Downs Ark
HELP WANTED: A Warwick animal rescue service is calling for donations to help continue caring for their cats amid COVID-19. PICTURE: Southern Downs Ark

Rising unemployment sparks concerns for animal abandonment

AS FOSTER numbers rise for Southern Downs Ark so does the fear the charity could soon be left without the financial support to continue.

Coronavirus has brought both positive and negatives to the animal rescue organisation according to president Ann Simon, as isolation offers up more home time for adoption while closures create financial uncertainty for the team.

“There’s been a number of impacts from COVID-19,” she said.

“Probably the most direct is the inability to showcase rescue animals in public, which has meant the cancellation of our weekly store at Bunnings.

“It’s also really had a negative effect on fundraising efforts because we can’t run raffles, sausage sizzles, and can’t do the stalls at the easier markets.

“But on the flip side, I think with people being at home a bit more, some of them have taken it as an opportunity to increase reflection on the value of pet ownership and we’ve had quite a lot of inquiries since isolation started.”

Those most at-risk were cats in the care of foster homes, the numbers in excess of one hundred, who were being crippled by current food shortages.

“People have lost their source of income, and while Jobkeeper allowance is great, those extra few dollars a week they might have spent on supporting the Ark is now gone,” she said.

“The competition for the philanthropic dollar has increased and the money to donate has reduced because of the virus’s impact on employment.”

As the pandemic plagued on, Ms Simon hated to think of what it could mean for pets in the region.

“As unemployment continues and the losses cut deeper, we will probably be looking at more requests for dogs and cats to be surrendered and I don’t know what we’re going to do unless the community rallies around us,” she said.

“Unless more fosters and more donations, we can’t go forward.”

But a simple donation of pet food, money or pet would be enough to keep the organisation rolling for now, said Ms Simon.

“It just eases the load, we have so many mouths to feed,” she said.

“Every cent we make is used to look after our rescue dogs and cats, no paid staff, we don’t have a premises or a motor vehicle.

“Every cent we get goes towards the animals.”

To donate or foster, head to https://southerndownsark.com.au



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