COVID, rental shortages and now supply chain issues have created a “perfect storm” to leave pet rescue services “desperate” says a young animal welfare champion who’s organised a pet adoption day in South Fremantle next weekend to try and relieve some of the pressure.
Former Melville Senior High School and now uni student Dean Morris adopted his first rescue pet as a 10-year-old and was so appalled at the conditions they were kept in he formed his own charity Give Our Strays a Chance.
Mr Morris, 18, said Covid had really impacted animal shelters.
“At first when we were all at home the shelters were pretty empty. People adopted the animals to keep company while home,” Mr Morris said.
“After the lockdowns were over, the shelters became fuller than before.
“There is a shortage of rentals; many landlords refuse to accept pets and so we see so many families having to make the heart-breaking decision to let their pets go to be able to get a place to live.
“Together with the impact of the SA floods and Covid on the supply chain in WA, it has created the perfect storm.
“So many people and rescue organisations have contacted me desperate for food a life-saving supplies for the animals.
“It is tough at the moment.”
Mr Morris has organised Bark in the Park Fremantle for next Sunday March 20 from 9am-12noon on the grassed area in front of the dog beach in South Fremantle.
A host of animal rescue organisations have signed up to participate, including K9 Rescue Group, Greyhound Adoptions, Cat Haven, Free the Hounds and even WA Romeo’s Rabbit Rescue.
Dogs’ best friend
WHEN 10-year-old Dean Morris’s mum saw an internet ad calling for someone to rescue a cute pup facing a lethal injection that very day, it changed his life.
“Instead of going to school, we went to the pound,” Mr Morris said.
The pair left with a new pet, Hooch, but he also came away with some disturbing memories.
“When I saw the conditions the dogs were living in at the pound, I was shocked.
“It was a brick building, no windows, complete darkness, no fresh air. In cages, on concrete floor.
“At the same time we were studying at school about leadership and making a difference and so I knew exactly what I was going to do.
“So I started GOSAC – Give Our Strays A Chance.
“I had no idea that eight years later, I would be still doing it and it would be huge. Bigger than I could ever dream or imagine.
“It snowballed (with a lot of hard work!).”
Since starting the organisation, he estimates GOSAC’s now raised more than $1 million for animal welfare, with funds going towards vet bills, food and bedding; often there’s a big call on GOSAC’s services after a natural disaster such as bushfires.
Based on his experiences rescuing Hooch and setting up his own charity, Mr Morris has written a book Saving the World One Stray at a Time which is a step-by-step guide on how to make a difference and save lives.
“I am a strong believer that youth has the power to change our world and I work hard to get to as many schools to talk to students and give them tools to start their own initiatives.”
He was also named Junior Citizen of the Year for 2021
in Gosnells and has a rack of awards and nominations already under his belt – he even scored a full scholarship to attend NASA’s space camp in Alabama.
by STEVE GRANT