Become a furry foster parent and help save lives
  • Monday 30 November 2015
SCARS Manager, Penny Brischke with kelpie, Carson, available for fostering

Sunshine Coast Council is calling on the community to help one of the region’s most valuable animal refuges, Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge Society (SCARS) to keep saving cats and dogs on the Sunshine Coast.

Community Program Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay today joined SCARS at the public launch of their Dog Foster and Feline Foster Families (FFF) Program.

Cr McKay said SCARS were at a crossroads and realised they needed to change their process and strategy if they were going to be able to continue to help save high numbers of unwanted cats and dogs.

“For the first time ever, SCARS is seeking the community’s help with fostering their cats and dogs,” Cr McKay said.

“This program has always been run internally, utilising SCARS volunteers as carers. However, the demand and need is too great for this to continue as is.

“For SCARS to be in this position now, even before the summer period begins when there is generally an increase of surrendered, dumped and roaming cats and dogs, is a major concern.

“Giving pets as a surprise Christmas gift can sometimes backfire as people are not aware of what it takes to be a pet owner.

"Perhaps giving foster care a go will give people an insight into having a pet, whilst receiving the support of SCARS to help settle them in, and by becoming a foster carer people will be directly helping save lives.”

SCARS, an independent, not-for-profit charity, was established in 1979 and has a non-euthanasia policy, focusing on finding forever homes for our four-legged friends and promoting responsible pet ownership.

SCARS manager Penny Brischke said SCARS cared for up to 70 dogs and 70 cats at any one time and saved 1000 cats and dogs every year.

“People don’t realise how many calls we get every day to surrender their animals, pregnant and with litters of kittens or puppies, young and old ones, some with very sad situations. We only have so much room as we are a non euthanizing refuge,” Ms Brischke said.

“There are dogs at SCARS that really need the comfort and ‘normalness’ of a home to have the best chance of getting a permanent home.

“Dogs need fostering for a number of reasons; post operation recovery, to provide a consistent approach to training required, because they are old and have medical conditions which will resolve much quicker in a home and some dogs just don’t handle the refuge environment and need quiet, calm homes to wait for their forever home.

“People can temporarily foster a mother cat and her kittens. Once the kittens are old enough they can be returned to SCARS to be rehomed. On average a mother or kitten foster will be between 4 – 10 weeks.

“Everything required to be a Feline Foster Family is supplied by SCARS.

“We have over 50 cats and kittens in foster care at the moment and the calls just keep coming to take more. It is shaping up to be one of the worst kitten seasons.

“It has been a particularly quiet time for adoptions of adult cats and without these adoptions it is challenging to keep bringing in other adult cats.”

Ms Brischke said SCARS relies heavily on government grants and the community to keep operating.

“The charity spends over $250,000 on vet care each year and spend around $500 to rehome each animal – and that’s just the healthy ones,” she said.

“We rely on community donations to care for these cats and dogs who may have been abandoned, surrendered or found wandering the streets.

“All animals receive an initial vet check and care including heartworm, worming and flea prevention, vaccinations, food, shelter and care, de-sexing and micro-chipping. Adoption prices include all of this and registration with the local council.”

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