March 27, 2012

Pets used as pawns in domestic violence - survey |

Last week I made my annual visit to our local SPCA. As usual we saw how they help the animals that have been abandoned and mistreated. Our papers are often filled with cases of cruelty, the ensuing court processes, the slap on the hand, and leave us feeling angry that the punishment rarely feels in keeping with the crimes. Tonight I read this, and it is again a reminder that volence to animals is far more sinister when it is performed in front of children or as a way of controlling their partner. Gradually it is becoming obvious worldwide that just as people will probably not evacuate an area if it means leaving their pet in danger, families remain in dangerous situations because there is no way they can take pets. I hope you take the time to read this excellent article.....

One in three women surveyed in a recent groundbreaking New Zealand study reported delaying leaving violent relationships because they feared their pets and other animals would be killed or tortured. Of these, one quarter said their children had witnessed violence against animals.

'Pets as Pawns' was commissioned by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in partnership with Women's Refuge. It underlines the strong link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand. The research also showed that 50% of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence.

"This research shows the urgent need for RNZSPCA and Women's Refuge to work together to find solutions to make families safer by enabling them to leave violent situations with their animals," says RNZSPCA National Chief Executive Robyn Kippenberger.

"In the past we have had an informal arrangement between some of our regional SPCA's and Women's Refuges, and the feedback we were getting from these collaborations led us to commission this research. The research has confirmed the need for Women's Refuge and the SPCA to work closely together to protect the women and animals who are suffering as a result of domestic violence."

"Our two organisations have agreed that we will develop a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure communication and cooperation at a local level," she said.

The study also found that SPCA staff and police needed to better understand the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Likewise, Refuge workers needed more support when women with animals needed to leave violent relationships. The study also suggests a funding programme should be developed to support animals in temporary accommodation, veterinary expenses and transport to this accommodation.

The research was funded by Lotteries Community Sector Research Fund and took place in 2011. The research included direct interviews with 30 refuge clients who had witnessed or were forced to take part in animal cruelty as part of family violence. SPCA stakeholders were also spoken with.

The latter part of the research involved surveying 203 Women's Refuge clients. Of these 203 women, 111 (55%) stated that animal cruelty was part of their experience of family violence as, at some point, either a family member or their partner had threatened to kill one of their pets, animals and/or farm animals. One third of the respondents also reported actual injury of death of the animal.

As a result, deciding when and how to leave a relationship that included cruelty to animals became more complex. Twenty-eight percent of women reported they would have left their abusive relationship earlier if they had not had a pet or animal. The length of time they stayed ranged from one week to 22 years with an average of two years.

The research also uncovered information about how children witnessed animal cruelty. Of the 159 research participants with children, a quarter reported that their children had witnessed someone in their family injure or kill a pet or animal. The research is available from the websites of the RNZSPCA and Women's Refuge.

"Disturbingly, many of the women reported that partners who had warnings or convictions around physical violence, would deliberately threaten or hurt pets as a way of controlling their family and make it easier to avoid reconviction," says Heather Henare, Chief Executive of Women's Refuge.

"In this way, pets and other animals become part of an arsenal of tricks abusers use to instil fear and control over their family. Some men will threaten to kill family pets if the women leaves, and in some cases women and children have witnessed extreme torture of pets or animals as part of the horror of domestic violence."

"The SPCA is already delivering presentations to intermediate school children throughout New Zealand teaching empathy and empowerment around kindness to animals and each other. But this research reveals that this is not enough to protect women who are attached to their pets from the perpetrators of domestic violence and we need to do more," says Ms Kippenberger.

Points for Women with a pet who is thinking of leaving a violent relationship

1. Violence towards animals is not acceptable, Even if you have pets, don't put off getting help!

2. Please call 0800 REFUGE to be connected to an advocate who will help you with a confidential safety plan for yourself, your children and your pets

3. To find a local refuge advocate you can also look under "W" in the White Pages for the number of your nearest women's refuge

4. Visit

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

March 23, 2012

Hundertwasser Public Toilets and Boat, Kawakawa

Alex has reached Bruges and next stop is Salzburg. (
He might be skipping Vienna which is sad as I have always liked Hundertwassers architecture there. I even looked at some pictures of his famous apartment block there this week 
Today, my friends sister, Miranda, wrote this post about Hundertwassers designing the public toilets in Kawakawa, NZ. Some great pictures....And memories of our time living up north.  Wherever you live in the world, public toilets probably don't come better than this. Go visit to see ALL the photos...and better still, visit Kawakawa. 

Sent to you via Google Reader

Hundertwasser Public Toilets and Boat, Kawakawa

Miranda (NZ)

Entrance to the Hundertwasser Public Toilets, Kawakawa

When Frederick Hundertwasser offered to design the upgrade of the old public toilets in Kawakawa's central township in 1998, I wonder if he knew the impact it would have on the community?   Perhaps he did...and what an immensely fruitful gesture it's turned out to be.
You might wonder what the internationally renowned Austrian artist and architect's connection was with this little town in the north of New Zealand.   Apparently he was so enchanted with New Zealand when he visited to mount an exhibition in the 1970's that he decided to make Aoteoroa (ie NZ) his second home.   He purchased an 'isolated rural property on the Waikino peninsula on the Waikare Inlet east of Kawakawa.'*

The Hundertwasser Community Toilets, main street, Kawakawa viewed from  Bay of Islands Vintage Railway carriage 

Hundertwasser ' loved the informality of the area and the freedom to walk the streets of the Kawakawa township anonymously.'*

March 14, 2012

Video Inside The Red Zone: March 13 |

We are still all kept outside the inner, cordoned-off red zone of post-earthquake Christchurch, occasionally fed videos of the state of demolition. This is the one for this week.

It won't mean a lot to people who don't live here... and in quite a lot of the movie, it doesn't mean a lot to us either - empty sections, bare brick walls, rubble. A place that feels vaguely familiar and that we really ought to recognise, but just can't. Don't know what was there, or which direction they are driving, or whether the buildings we can see are coming down right now, or will be soon, or if they will stay.

And then suddenty you see a landmark; something recognisable, familiar. Instantly you know exactly where you are and what should be there and what direction you are facing. Something you loved; a place you cherished...filled with memories. Now a hollow, soulless place with awnings torn, parapets gone, lifeless and dead. And you blink back tears as the loss sears through you, realising it is now just a memory, even though the structure is still standing.
This time for me it was Sullivan's, the Irish Pub, Manchester St.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

March 9, 2012

Bringing Down The Crown Plaza - Third Largest Demolition in Christchurch

This grand hotel is next to the Town Hall... where Scott worked for so long. For many years we have enjoyed visiting it for meals, walking over the connecting air bridge for late night coffees after shows, meeting up for "ladies" afternoon teas, nibbling on decadent stacks of cakes and tiny sandwiches presented on tiered platters, relaxing in the easy chairs with the gentle tinkle of the grand piano or the jazz singer in the foyer.

The work parties... riding up and down in the glass lifts.

Visiting friends who were staying there at conferences, business trips and dining downstairs at the Teppenyaki or Simo's.

And now she is going... like the Convention Centre across the road, while the fate of the Town Hall waits to be announced. It is not a hopeful future for Kilmore St.....or Christchurch.

I miss all those things.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

March 6, 2012

Meet Our Nurses

Meet Our Nurses


Lisa Attewell – Practice Manager

Lisa joined the team at St Albans in 2001 while completing her Certificate in Veterinary nursing at Christchurch Polytechnic.  She has taken a step back from nursing to manage the day to day running of the clinic which she finds challenging but also very rewarding in a new HR management role.
She enjoys most sports, outdoor activities and camping. Her favourite time of the year is summer, when she is often found at the beach relaxing with a good book.  Lisa has a daughter Aimee and a cat called Roxy, and a very busy border terrier called Stella that keep her busy outside of the clinic.

Chrisy Stephenson – Veterinary Nurse

Chrisy has been a member of  the team at St Albans Vets since 2007, after working at the clinic while studying for her certificate in Veterinary Nursing.  Chrisy has many responsibilities in the clinic and is especially knowledgeable in cat behaviour!
During her spare time she enjoys catching up with friends.  Chrisy lives with her partner, James, and her 3 cats which keep things interesting!

Nicola Lancaster – Veterinary Nurse

Nicola completed her Certificate in Veterinary Nursing in 2005. She joined the team at St Albans in May 2007. She is from a farm in Springston just out of Christchurch.
In her spare time she loves to ride and has competitive show horses that she competes with mainly though the summer at A&P shows and at Horse of the Year in Hastings. She has been riding since she was 3 years old.

Kim Mooney - Veterinary Nurse

Kim joined the team at St Albans in March 2009 after returning home to New Zealand from pearl farming off the coast of Darwin.
Kim's interests include dental care and nutrition and patient well-being.  When she is not at work she enjoys running, tramping, swimming and travelling.  Kim has recently purchased her first house as a property investment so this has been keeping her very busy!

Michelle Cairns – Veterinary Nurse

Michelle joined the team at St Albans in August 2010, another team member who began her career by work experience here.  Michelle enjoys her job and has special interests in surgery, caring for hospitalised medical patients, and helping educate clients on the overall care of their pets.
Michelle’s outside interests include socialising with friends, pottering about in the garden and dancing the night away!  She has fish, 5 cats and a few of stray cats that come over to her house at teatime!

Sarah Clements – Veterinary Nurse

Sarah started at our New Brighton branch, first with work experience and then once qualified began Nursing from February 2011.  Sarah works at both our Parklands and St Albans branches. She is really interested in wellness clinics especially weight clinics, and dental care.
When not at work, Sarah’s interests include sports (both watching and playing) these include softball, golf, horse-riding and rugby.  She has 3 adult cats and a kitten that she has hand raised since a tiny little kitten.

Kim Anderson – Veterinary Nurse

Kim joined the team at Parklands in October 2008, after graduating from Otago Polytechnic.  Kim particularly enjoys surgery and the post operative care of the animals and cat grooming.
Outside of the clinic Kim is kept busy on her lifestyle block in Rangiora, where she has many different pets, including horses, sheep, chickens, 4 cats and 2 dogs!  Kim enjoys sports, her family, horse riding and working with sheep dogs.  Kim has two children who also keep her busy.

Rebecca Cross – Veterinary Nurse

Rebecca joined the team at Parklands in October 2009 after first volunteering because she was such a pet lover! Rebecca studied vet nursing through Otago Polytechnic.  She loves working with animals and helping owners find solutions to the problems they face with their pets.
Rebecca’s outside interests include her family, running, socialising with friends, reading and relaxing.  She has 3 dogs, Murphy, Lochie & Flynn and 6 cats.  Rebecca is a softie when it comes to taking in stray animals as you can see!

Sarah Ryan – Veterinary Nurse

Sarah started at our Parklands branch in February 2011, just in time for the big earthquake! She graduated from Christchurch Polytechnic in 2002.  Sarah particularly enjoys helping out with our Puppy preschool classes, surgery, the hands on care with animals and interacting with clients.
Outside of work, Sarah enjoys horse riding, cycling, tramping, yoga and is often at the gym.  Sarah owns one cat called Pebbles.

Nicky Simmons – Veterinary Nurse

Nicky joined the team at St Albans in November 2011, she has many years experience as a Veterinary Nurse and worked at the Afterhours Emergency Centre before having her children.  Nicky really enjoys surgical cases, interesting medical cases and emergency medicine.
Most of her spare time is spent with her two young girls, Esther & Mirriam, visiting beaches, parks and just having fun.  Nicky enjoys fishing, being by the water and good food.  She has a hyperactive and mischievous pug called Gonzo, a cuddly cat Zsa Zsa and the coolest cat in the neighbourhood called Tegal!

Lydia Joy – Veterinary Nurse

Lydia joined the team in May 2011 after completing her certificate in Veterinary Nursing at Christchurch Polytech.  Lydia loves working with animals and enjoys lots of things about her job.  Her main interest is ultrasonography and loves that technology
Can give us some great diagnostic options.  Lydia works at both our St Albans and Parklands branches.
In her spare time, Lydia enjoys horse riding and hanging out with her friends.  Lydia has recently acquired her very first animal, a gorgeous little cat called Simba.
One of our local vet clinics launched their new website this week. Like many of our local clinics, they have been very helpful with taking our students for practical training in the fifteen years I have been involved but today I was really pleased to see that nine of the nurses shown here have trained with us in that time. So good to see them on here. It is easy to get worn out and bogged down in the demands of our work, but it's days like this that remind me of the positives of what we do :)
Thank you Geoff, John, Lisa and the team at Our Vets.

March 5, 2012

Alex's Yellow Brick Road

In keeping with family tradition, Alex has started a blog to keep us up to date about his travels through the Northern hemisphere... he left late friday night and did a first post - and has made contact from London this morning - just as I was starting to wonder if London wi-fi was not as accessible as I thought!
But he is fine - and you can follow his journey from London and across partsof Europe here too. There are only two entries so far.... but many more to come.

March 2, 2012

Hobbit Filming Scale Revealed On Peter Jackson's... |

Great to see that so many beautiful places in New Zealand are being used for the filming of The Hobbit. This movie shows you some of the location filming - all over the place. They have passed the halfway mark...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin