Animal shelter stalled

The Lismore-based Animal Rights and Rescue Group (ARRG) has finally got approval from Lismore City Council to build a much-needed animal shelter, but an unexpected glitch has put the project on hold.

ARRG spokeswoman, Barbara Steffensen, said a $150,000 pledge made by a donor for the building costs is not currently available due to difficulties freeing up the investment.

Desperate to see the project completed, ARRG is approaching Lismore MP Thomas George and Lismore mayor Merv King to see if they can come to the rescue.

Weve also contacted other animal welfare groups up and down the coast seeking funds or a loan to get the building up, Ms Steffensen said. The funding problem came as such a shock the organisation cant go on unless we can get this shelter built.

ARRG is the regions most active animal welfare group, which rescues and re-homes hundreds of pets each year, runs an annual subsidised desexing program and works with the community to spread the word on animal care. The group also rescues dozens of animals from local council pounds to save them from being put down.

ARRG keeps all animals until they find a home, no matter how long that takes, and runs up an a yearly vet bill of around $56,000. No animal is ever put down unless it is too sick or injured to recover.

ARRGs not just an animal group, Ms Steffensen said. We provide a social service too. We are constantly being called on by welfare organisations to take in animals whose owners have been put into nursing homes or are in an emergency situation. Recently a doctor phoned us, asking us to take care of a womans dog so she could be admitted to hospital that day for urgent surgery. The woman refused to go because she had nobody to mind her dog.

ARRG collected the dog that afternoon, and took it to the hospital for regular visits while the woman recovered.

The hospital staff told us they never saw her look so happy as when the dog came to visit, Ms Steffensen said.

Anyone who can help with a donation or loan to build the ARRG shelter should contact Ms Steffensen on 6621 1881. For more information about ARRGs work, see www.animalrights.org.au.


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