Monday, July 28, 2008

Bogus calls waste SPCA's time and petrol

By STACEY KNOTT

Wanganui Chronicle

Unfounded and malicious calls are emptying Wanganui's SPCA petrol tanks.

SPCA shelter manager Val Waters said about three out of 30 complaints to the association were unfounded.

The calls had become a huge problem because of the high cost of petrol. The association was paying three times more for gas than last year. Petrol prices were "staggeringly high", she said.

Unnecessary calls, where animals were used as ammunition in neighbourhood or domestic arguments, put a strain on the shelter.

"A lot of the complaints are unfounded or malicious, and that really hits us hard the fact that we have to go," Ms Waters said.

"I feel a bit aggrieved about doing that, and it's a huge cost of petrol to go to some of these complaints. There is usually a neighbourhood squabble or even a domestic thing, and they bring the SPCA in as an extra baton." Wanganui SPCA covered the area through Marton, Bulls, Hunterville, Raetihi and Waverley, and investigated every complaint they received.

"It is a big area, and when you get called to malicious complaints, it's pretty annoying.

"We get them regularly, and you have to go because, you never know, it could be a genuine complaint of animal welfare concern."

The unfounded complaints were often to the surprise of the animal owners, Ms Waters said.

"Owners are horrified when the SPCA turns up. Who can blame them?"