Rescue group to close if appeal fails

The Animal Rights and Rescue Group (ARRG), which has found homes for over 10,000 rescued pets over the last 12 years, may have to close down next month.

The group has gone from delight at Lismore Councils approval of its proposed animal centre to despair when funding for the $200,000 project collapsed. A pledge of $150,000 for stage one of the centre was recently withdrawn.

ARRG president Barbara Steffensen said the group could no longer sustain its work from private homes.

We need the animal centre to give us a secure base, she said. If 100 people gave us $2000 each the centre could be saved but if our emergency appeal to the community fails, we close in September.

Ms Steffensen said ARRG was deeply concerned about the impact its closure would have on local council pounds.

ARRG has accepted many unclaimed pets from Lismore and Casino pounds that would otherwise be killed. Our closure will result in many surrendered pets going to the pound, she said. The current pound facilities would not cope with the extra intake and the euthanasia figure will tragically explode.

Besides giving homeless, unwanted and abused animals a second chance, ARRG has subsidised thousands of disadvantaged people through a pet desexing program. The group has helped many clients of local human welfare agencies such as womens refuges and hospitals get emergency care for their pets during a personal crisis.

Ms Steffensen said she and other group members could no longer provide their service under existing circumstances.

I, like the other volunteers, am losing heart and fight and I am torn between the animals and my own life, she said. We have been able to cover our operating budget, but now only large donations can save us.

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