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Here to help .. Rebecca Sefonte is the new SPCA inspector in town. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

Editor’s note: The wrong photo was used with the Q&A on page 2 of today’s Oamaru Mail.

North Otago SPCA has a new inspector it shares with South Canterbury – Rebecca Sefonte. She speaks to Sally Brooker

Q: How long have you been with the SPCA?
Three months. I’ve only just started. You’ve got to do a one-year certificate in animal welfare investigation through Unitec in Auckland. You do it by distance. There are four block courses and work experience placements. I did mine through Otago.

Q: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Auckland. I was down in Balclutha for the last nine years. I was an equine tutor at Telford. I’m from a horse racing background. Horses are my thing. I was made redundant. Equine classes are back now; they had a year off. I did my (SPCA) qualification in 2015. I did it because I always had a strong interest in animal welfare. I was doing equine for the last nine years but those sort of jobs are few and far between. I did vet nursing many, many moons ago.

Q: Did you choose to come here or were you posted by the SPCA?
Once you’ve done the SPCA course, you go on a membership list and job vacancies are sent out. My partner wanted to come up to Oamaru. He’s got family in Hampden.

Q: Can you tell us about your family?
My partner is Tim Currie. Our son, Van, is 7; he’s at Hampden School. Our daughter, Allysra, just turned 3 on the 5th; she’s at Little Wonders. We’re living in Hampden.

Q: How big is your SPCA area?
It goes up to Temuka, Twizel, Tekapo and Omarama. I’m fulltime based in Oamaru. I don’t have a lot of cases in Oamaru yet.

Q: What does the job involve?
We get call-outs and do a lot of follow-up visits. There is a range from following up with the education side of things to something that just needs monitoring. It’s not nasty. I’m lucky everyone has been great to deal with. The SPCA is a good employer. There are contacts you can get hold of. My base is in Dunedin – it’s the “mother ship”. It’s quite a tight unit; we’re constantly in contact. We work in conjunction with MPI (the Ministry for Primary Industries). For any large number of animals like on a dairy farm or a sheep and beef farm, MPI handles it.

Q: Do you have pets at home?
I’ve got three horses and foal a few weeks old.

Q: What does the future hold?
I see myself doing this job for the near future. We want to buy a property. I’m loving it.