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May 18, 2022

Northern Rivers Animal Services needs helpers

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NRAS President Jo Parker with Simone Dixon, Trish Giltinan and rescue dog Maggie. Photo David Lowe.

Ballina-based animal welfare organisation Northern Rivers Animal Services Inc is on the lookout for cat-lovers to help at their cat cottage, and foster carers for both dogs and cats.

The Echo caught up with NRAS President Jo Parker and her rescue dog Maggie in Ballina on the weekend, at the Rotary Duck Race in Fawcett Park.

‘We’ve got a really close relationship with Ballina on Richmond Rotary,’ said Ms Parker, ‘and we’re actually one of the recipients of the fundraising that they’re doing today.’

Can you tell us a bit about what you guys do?

Jo Parker said, ‘We re-home the companion animals, dogs and cats within the area. We’ve now got a shelter out at Piper Drive where we can house dogs for emergency care. We’ve also got a three room cat cottage, which is pretty full at the moment.

Fleur, one of the cats who’s been in care at NRAS recently. Photo supplied.

‘We’re actually looking for cat cottage people to come in and help us clean up after the kittens, as well as feed them and cuddle them.’

As a self-funded, not-for-profit charity, NRAS has a vision to raise the value of dogs and cats in society, prevent the births of unwanted kittens and puppies, and find safe and happy homes with responsible pet-owners. They target zero euthanasia rates for all healthy and treatable cats and dogs.

With no RSPCA between Coffs Harbour and Tweed Heads, the organisation fills a vital niche on the Northern Rivers.

Shimmi was looking for a home late last year. Photo supplied.

Less animals in cages

‘Most of our animals are in foster care,’ explained Ms Parker. ‘We don’t want them to just be in the shelter.

‘So they go to people’s homes and get looked after in people’s homes until they’re ready to be adopted.

‘I’m a failed foster carer! I had my dog Maggie here for three days and then we went no, we’re keeping her, which happens to a lot of people.

‘But with the kitty cottage, we’ve got a lovely facility where mum can be with her kittens, in a lovely air conditioned area. We’ve also got outdoor enclosures,’ she said.

‘So we get lovely volunteers to come in morning, midday, and evening to feed and clean up be with the kittens.

NRAS volunteer Chevaun Stapleton with Shelter Manager Sarah McKenzie and puppies. Photo David Lowe.

‘Sarah who’s just arrived is our shelter manager, who has some pups today. We’ve got a mum with eleven pups who’s just come in to care,’ said Ms Parker.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or find out more about Northern Rivers Animal Services can ring them on (02) 6681 1860 or email: [email protected]

NRAS is also on Facebook, and their website is northernriversanimalservices.com.

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