Adoption bonanza at RSPCA

WELCOME HOME: Four-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback Sasha has found a new home with new owners Amber Archdale, left, and Kelli Hersey.

WELCOME HOME: Four-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback Sasha has found a new home with new owners Amber Archdale, left, and Kelli Hersey.

While for most 2020 will be a year to forget, it will be one to remember for the Whyalla RSPCA, who have set a record for animals adoptions this year.

The Centre, located in Whyalla Norrie, has found new homes for 158 animals - 44 more animals than last year and 104 more than in 2018.

Felines were the most adopted species, with 32 cats and 72 kittens going to new homes. Thirty dogs and 24 puppies also won hearts and new homes this year.

Centre Manager Andre Sliedrecht says the almost 200% increase in adoptions over the past two years is due to increased community awareness about the health benefits of pet ownership.

"This year many people have discovered, for the first time, the joy and comfort animals can bring to our lives," he said.

"The restrictions introduced because of the pandemic left many people feeling lonely and socially isolated, and it's wonderful that pets have shone as the perfect antidote to those feelings."

Adoptions began to soar in all three RSPCA South Australia shelters in mid-March following the organisation's call for community help amidst increasing Covid-19 restrictions.

Over the two months of March and April, 1,275 animals were adopted compared to 716 for the same period last year.

The surge in adoptions across the state resulted in a record number of 5085 animals in the organisation's care finding new homes last financial year.

Four-month-old Sasha is among the 24 puppies adopted from RSPCA's Whyalla shelter.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback cross came into RSPCA South Australia's care via Whyalla City Council after being picked up as a stray earlier this month.

New owners Kelli Hersey and Amber Archdale made the 3.5 hour trip from their home in Roxby Downs to collect Sasha.

They have been seeking a new dog for several weeks following the passing of their elderly Labrador named Gemma earlier this year.

"We put in applications at several shelters but every time we missed out," Amber said.

"We feel lucky to have Sasha join our family in time for Christmas - she's definitely worth the long drive."

Sasha will live with Kelli, Amber and their eight-year-old daughter Tully.