Slow adoptions impacts dog rescue centre

RRR Bay of Plenty founder and CEO Siobhan Mikaere with dog ‘Troy’ – who needs a forever home. Photo: John Borren.

A Bay of Plenty organisation that rehomes dogs it collects on death row from pounds around the country has had to temporarily close its doors due to adoptions being so slow.

Along with other dumped, abandoned and surrendered puppies and dogs, Rescue, Revive, Rehome Bay of Plenty collects dogs that haven’t been shown any interest during their limited time allowed in a pound and places them with foster families until they can be adopted.

But in 2023 and this year, dog adoptions at RRR Bay of Plenty have fallen to an all-time low, which impacts the organisation’s ability to take in more dogs.

“No – we can’t take in any more dogs at the moment – but it’s definitely a temporary measure until we can clear some dogs out through adoption,” says RRR BOP spokesperson Ronnie McAllum.

In 2021 and 2022, RRR BOP averaged 30 dog adoptions per month.

“This year monthly adoption numbers have more than halved.

"We’re now adopting between 10 and 15 dogs per month.”

Adoption days 

To combat this RRR BOP has taken to hosting one adoption event per month to try move more dogs into permanent homes – at gyms, pet stores, outside cafes, home realty firms, and last weekend a garden centre.

“This year we’ve ramped it up because adoptions are so so slow.

RRR Bay of Plenty founder and CEO Siobhan Mikaere with dog ‘Troy’ – who needs a forever home. Photo: John Borren.

"And because we don’t have a facility [to house dogs] it’s otherwise impossible for people to view all of our dogs up for adoption in one place.

"The animals are in foster homes all around the place, so these adoption days are really important for people who don’t know which animals, personalities, breeds, sex etc they want to go for.”

And while last Saturday’s dog adoption event in Te Puna was successful, with three dogs finding new homes, it wasn’t enough to stop them from temporarily closing the doors.

“We’re at a point where we’re struggling to find fosterers for the dogs we already have.

"Some fosterers can’t take dogs aged above 12 weeks because they don’t have the space, or they have other commitments, holidays etc. so we have to move the pups around.”

Limited fosterers 

Ronnie says the rescue has 33 dogs and limited fosterers.

“This [closure] highlights the issue we’re facing with availability.

"The longer the dogs are in the rescue the more burnout you get from the fosterers.

"If you’ve had a dog for nine months you don’t want to take on another one the next day.”

Ronnie admits the drop in adoptions is “absolutely heart-breaking”.

She believes it’s due to today’s families facing so many pressures.

“So all of the things affecting people in their everyday lives are impacting on their ability to adopt.

"And the rental situation is massive – particularly the reluctance of landlords to allow people to have pets.”

Ronnie says puppies are easier to rehome than older dogs, and don’t hang around as long.

“Puppies are more appealing but once a dog reaches four months it’s adoptability decreases by the day until they’re about five or six years old.

"Then as long as they’re well-behaved they become a desirable again.

“We have 10 mature dogs, aged nine months-plus.

"Then we have another 10 dogs aged between four-eight months.

"They are the hardest to rehome because they’ve gone past the cute puppy stage but they’re still behave like puppies.

“So we’ve got dogs staying with us a lot longer.

"Our average stay used to be around 40 days – now we have dogs that were born in the rescue reaching their first birthday.”

Ronnie says dogs that come into RRR care have been rescued from council pounds across the motu.

“Basically we take dogs from the pound when they’re on death row.

"Dogs have limited time in the pound and if they are good dogs council staff don’t want to put to sleep, but they haven’t had interest during their limited time in the pound, they reach out to us.

“If we can accommodate them we will take them.

"All of the pounds reach out to all of the rescues; we all work hand in hand.”

To become an RRR fosterer, or to adopt a dog, email: or visit: Or:

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