The refuge, in Hickling Ave, Mareeba, was built in 1978 and is owned by the Mareeba Shire Council. Since 2007 it has been leased and operated by Friends of the Animals (FOA), a not for profit organisation accepting unwanted, neglected and impounded cats, kittens, dogs and puppies from not only the Cairns and Tablelands regions but also the Douglas, Carpentaria and Cassowary Coast Shires. In December the refuge accepted 21 dogs and 20 cats, including litters of 8 kittens and 8 pups on successive days. Last year over 300 animals were accepted. The staff (a full-time manager, five part time and many volunteers) proudly rehome nearly all of these. Sometimes it takes months, however, patience, affection and skill from those who involve themselves with the refuge contribute to providing devoted and loyal companions for their new owners.
The premises, although having been upgraded a number of times, are in dire need of modernisation which can only be achieved by building new facilities. In 2019, the Council advertised for expressions of interest for a third party to build and run a new facility, much to the dismay of locals who had adopted pets from the Refuge so Council’s decision to extend FOA’s lease to operate until March 2021 is welcomed by many residents. Also welcomed is the Council obtaining $500,000 from the State Government towards a new facility.
Bonny and Nevada, rehomed by the Refuge.
The first fundraising event for the New Year for operating costs and the new facilities will be hosted by Tableland Hardware, 26 James St. Mareeba on February, 15th from 8:30 to 1 pm. A Sausage Sizzle will be supported by Council and the Central Veterinary Surgery providing microchipping for $20. Also, a $10 dog wash will be provided by Tableland Mobile Pet Services.
There is also a monthly stall at Mareeba Markets, held on the second week, selling bric-a-brac and entries in the popular $100 board. Friends of the Animals also seek monetary donations which are tax deductible. Collection boxes are located at Dimbulah, Kuranda and Mareeba businesses. Businesses who would like a collection box should contact the refuge. Individual and business sponsorship of kennels are an option for those considering helping the Refuge in a more substantial way. Three membership levels are also available.
Mareeba Animal Refuge can be found on Facebook and the web: www.mareebaanimalrefuge.com.au
Nevada was brought to the refuge as a pup ten years ago and due to separation issues was in and out of other facilities until returning to Mareeba when the Port Douglas facility temporarily closed. In 2017 she was adopted by her current owners who volunteer as dog walkers. Andreas Jodner (pictured with the girls) remembers texting his wife that the last pup for the morning walk appeared to be a bit of a brute but a few minutes later texted, “Brute? Nah. Pussy cat!” Three months later they adopted and have not regretted getting an older dog. Prior to Christmas last year the refuge manager, Jennifer Walsh, asked Andreas and Sue to foster, Nonny, short for anonymous, a two year old stray impounded by the council.
After two months of trying to find a new home Nonny was also adopted and renamed Bonny. The two girls are regularly seen in Mareeba’s main street, Atherton, Yungaburra Markets and the Cairns Esplanade.
These are a few of the animals currently available for adoption.
Scuffy – 6 months old
Redlynch – 18 month old who loves attention
Lexi – shy boxer
Mango and John Snow
Chad – very affectionate 3 year old male
Gretchen – young adult female
Jezebel – loves to say hello