The shelter includes kennels which will be available for Rarotonga dog owners to use.
The opening has been scheduled for Saturday January 31 at 5pm, but has yet to be finally confirmed.
Caretakers Brent and Denise Beck will move to the newly-completed complex located
on the way to the Papua (Wigmore) waterfalls at the end of January.
Helping to fund the shelter has been money raised from sales at the SPCA shop at the Punanga Nui Market, fortnightly raffles and donations boxes located in various shops and resorts around the island.
“A formal lease has been obtained and since work began on the site, tasks have included renovating the caretaker’s residence, felling trees, building a driveway and getting a sceptic tank for the kennels, as well as installing a generator. This all cost $37,833,” says RSPCA president Sharon Reichardt.
“The Cook Islands SPCA is a local charity, run by local people and supported by local businesses.”
Bob ‘Solar Bob’ Riley generously donated and installed solar panels to power the complex with a system costing $16,000 and Rose Primm, a great supporter of Auckland’s SPCA, helped install it. The shelter relies on the sun to provide power to the caretakers’ residence and some of the kennels.
“Without the support of the community and local businesses we would not have been able to reach our goals,” says Sharon.
“It is no secret that the dog issue on the island is out of control at the moment, with roaming dogs having a large impact on tourism on the island, not to mention the numerous bike and vehicle incidences involving dogs.”
“Many of the dogs remain un de-sexed despite the fact the law requires all dogs to be either castrated or spayed.”
“The collect-neuter-return-programme was in partnership with the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation to address the dog issue in Rarotonga.”
SPCA Cook Islands thank gold sponsors Polynesian Rentals and Polynesian Bike Hire for their assistance, says Sharon.
“We love your initiative with signage on a couple of rental vehicles. This will help the SPCA to promote awareness of its programmes.
“We want to thank ‘silver’ sponsors: Captain Tama Lagoon Cruises, Palm Grove Resort, Lawson Wines, Edgewater Resort, Trader Jacks, and Highland Paradise.
“We would also like to thank the bronze sponsors, Raro Air Con, Sunset Resort, Sunrise Beach Bungalows, Muri Beach Lagoon Bungalows, First Windows and Doors.
“Also Aroa Vegieland, Tim Arnold, Cook Island Pharmacy, Aroa Beachside Inn, Primefods, Hori Signs and Salsa Cafe who provided gifts and donations.”
“Many people spent hours building and clearing the site, installing equipment, painting, doing plumbing and electrical work. They included John Edwards, Kevin Reichardt, Owen Healy, Robbie Fryer, Carl Otto, Len Edwards, Graham Seath and Hash House Harriers.
“Also a big thank you to the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club for their support in allowing us to run meat raffles every second Friday and to Sue Arnold for donating a small cattery.
“The purpose of the shelter, like at any SPCA worldwide, is for the prevention of cruelty to animals and we will foster homeless cats and dogs that need adopting.”
Negotiations are continuing between Cook Islands Police and the SPCA over future use of the site, with the police looking at supporting both the SPCA and the new dog ranger.
“If you are a business and would like a donation box let us know,” says Sharon.
The SPCA plans to hold several fundraising campaigns next year and will run another free parasite treatment programme for cats and dogs next year.
The organisation will host its AGM on January 20 at 5pm at the RSA in Nikao.
If you are interested in becoming a member contact the SPCA on 25005.
Membership costs $10 per person.