Kate Bijkerk with a rescued pet.
Kate Bijkerk with a rescued pet. Contributed

Rescue group to save lives at expo

AN animal rescue group will be on hand at the October Fetch Pet Expo on the Tweed on Saturday.

Deathrow Unchained Animal Rescue, which rescues animals facing euthanasia, was invited to the expo after appearing at Tweed Pet Kingdom recently with a group of puppies due to be put down.

Their stand will feature an adoption board highlighting about 24 puppies desperately needing a home.

Founder Kate Bijkerk said she hoped to find a caring home for the rescued pets, while educating the public on their plight.

“It’s to raise awareness as so many people don’t realise animals are being put down at the pound,” Ms Bijkerk said.

“Currently, 27 dogs and cats (in Australia) are being killed every hour of every day and we need to educate on that.”

Deathrow Unchained have been running for several months and travel the expanses of New South Wales and Queensland in their quest to rescue as many animals as possible from certain death.

“We go on rescue missions to many places and we look for cases that look for us, the dogs that aren’t easy to re-home and a lot of high needs cases,” Ms Bijkerk said.

“The main focus is that we go to rural areas, such as those where they are still shooting dogs, where the conditions of those dogs are appalling.”

Ms Bijkerk said there were many factors in the mistreatment and death of animals, such as the cost of vet bills and councils not allowing more than two dogs to be owned.

She said a big problem was the cost of desexing, which is of particular concern with cats as one undesexed cat can be responsible for the birth of 70,000 cats in a 10 year period.

When animals are rescued, the group personally houses and cares for them, until a suitable home can be found.

The housing process is crucial as the group are strong on responsible ownership, to ensure an animal will be integrated into a family and environment that will provide the best possible care.

“If people are interested in adopting an animal, we will go out to their home and inspect and assess whether the family and dog will suit each other,” Ms Bijkerk said.

“From there, if the adoption goes through, there’s a two week trial period and if they wish to proceed from there, they pay the adoption fee and we sign the animal over.”

The group will do anywhere from six to twelve month check-ups post adoption to assess whether the animal is healthy, looked after and happy.

Ms Bijkerk said the group had many strategies on how to care for an animal and would be able to provide information at the expo.

She hoped the expo would entice a number of potential adopters to find a loving home for one of the many pets to be featured on adoption boards.

“We don’t turn fosters from anywhere down,” Ms Bijkerk said.

“That potential foster is potentially a life saved and it gives me no bigger satisfaction than to find all animals a caring home so they will never be in pain or mistreated again.”

The pet expo also includes reptile shows, pony rides and an animal farm.

It will be held at Tweed Heads South Public School, Heffron St, from 9am.

For more information on the rescue group, visit them on Facebook at: Deathrow Unchained Animal Rescue

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