An animal rescue charity is warning neglect and cruelty is spiraling out of control as authorities fail to act.
Marlborough Dog Pawz volunteers are accusing council and the SPCA of not doing enough to help to address serious issues.
The number of cases of animal abandonment and neglect are reaching dire proportions, they say.
Marlborough Dog Pawz co-founder Michelle Madsen says the charity is swamped dealing with cases of abandonment and neglect.
And she says desperate members of the public are turning to them for help as the SPCA refuses to act.
Foster carers are working night and day to help but the situation is critical, says Michelle.
“It’s just horrendous.
“This is a huge issue; it’s getting worse and council are not addressing it.
“The sights we see are terrible but if we don’t try and help, who will?”
The non-profit group was started in March 2017, originally to support responsible dog ownership.
The main objective being to help with desexing costs and to assist, where possible, with vaccinations, food and bedding.
But, Michelle says, it quickly became clear animals’ lives were also at risk; with not everyone willing to accept help.
“I’ve had people threaten to kill me or bash my head in,” she says.
At one Blenheim property, Michelle says there are 11 cats all living in their own filth.
The remains of a dead kitten were discovered rotting on the driveway.
“We’ve complained to the mayor, but he didn’t take our concerns seriously.
“The council need to be enforcing by-laws. Animals are suffering through inaction,” she says.
Marlborough District Council’s Animal Bylaws 2017 forbid people from keeping more than four cats over the age of three months without prior written permission.
But pleas for help have so far fallen on deaf ears, says Michelle.
“There’s cat poo piled up everywhere, cats full of fleas with their ribs sticking out and yet the council’s first concern was to tell us off.
“Even if SPCA staff do come out, which they don’t always it can be days later, and the suffering just goes on.
“The SPCA is too top heavy, too many management positions in Auckland and not enough being done at a local level.
“There aren’t even animal inspectors based here, and the centre is always full.
“It’s virtually impossible to get them to take in a kitten,” says Michelle.
Animal advocate Alex Stowasser works with Marlborough Dog Pawz.
She is horrified by some of what she has seen,” she says.
Top of her wish list for change would be compulsory desexing for dogs and cats, an end to keeping dogs chained up and backyard breeding.
“People have no idea how truly bad this situation is.”
Marlborough District Council and the SPCA have been contacted for comment.
Donations can be made to Marlborough Dog Pawz at BNZ 02 0600 0299421 000 or to The Vet Centre Marlborough, ASB 12 3605 0005262 00.