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Business as usual at Happy Paws

Geoff Helisma|

Happy Paws Haven animal welfare charity will continue to re-home animals in its care,despite its founder, Sally Rogers, being convicted of animal cruelty offences.

Ms Rogers was given a three-year community corrections order at Ballina Local Court on February 11, 2020, for failing to provide necessary veterinary treatment to eight of 58 cats in 2017.

The court’s finding was the result of RSPCA inspectors and veterinarians attending Mr Rogers’ Eatonsville property on July 31, 2017.

Ms Rogers was ordered to forfeit custody of the eight cats within 28 days and was banned from purchasing, acquiring or taking possession or custody of any feline for a period of two years.

Ms Rogers said she did not give evidence in court, nor was she called as a witness, for legal and/or procedural reasons.

She said that the court orders will not affect the shelter because “the conviction was with me not the shelter”.

“Happy Paws’ intention is to continue to reduce the cat population though adoptions,” she said.

“The only exception for taking in a new cat for Happy Paws is if a cat is in a position of crisis.

“Happy Paws will only accept cats from people whose cat is experiencing a crisis due to domestic violence [for example], or if the owner has suddenly had to go into hospital, and where there is potential to return the cat to its owner.

“Bushfire or floods are other examples, but decisions are made by the Happy Paws committee or the principal carer, and that is not me.”

Ms Rogers was recently hospitalised after having a “mini stroke”.

Now out of hospital, Ms Rogers said “the animals at Happy Paws Haven [were] being well looked after, as usual, by our team” during her hospitalisation.