Be a brick, donate online to build new SPCA shelter

SPCA is working with Groupon, a commercial entity, to raise funds for the cats in the shelter. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
SPCA is working with Groupon, a commercial entity, to raise funds for the cats in the shelter. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Group's tie-up with Groupon can also earn donors 'titles' like Cat Savior

Want to become a "Mother Teresa of Cats" for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)? You just need to find a mouse - and click on it to donate $100.

In conjunction with World Cat Day last Friday, the animal welfare group teamed up with daily deal website Groupon to make it easier for animal lovers to help abandoned pets and fund the group's new shelter.

The Buy A Brick programme started last Monday marks the first time that SPCA is taking its fund-raising online. SPCA is tapping Groupon's more than two million subscribers to raise funds for its new shelter. It will move to Sungei Tengah in Choa Chu Kang by the end of next year.

Groupon customers typically buy vouchers on the website and redeem them later for goods or services such as watches and spa treats. Under the tie-up, donors cannot redeem the vouchers, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards SPCA's new building.

By giving $20, donors can contribute 50 virtual bricks towards the new shelter and be called Cat Lovers; those who give $50 get to gift 150 bricks and can be Cat Saviors. The ultimate title is Mother Teresa of Cats, with a $100 donation that goes towards helping an abandoned pet. The fund-raising drive runs till Aug 18.

"Yearly, about 15,000 to 20,000 cats and dogs are put down in Singapore and this was a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds in support of a worthy organisation like the SPCA," said Mr Kelvin Teo, country manager of Groupon Singapore.

SPCA had earlier announced plans for a new shelter about twice as big as its current Mount Vernon premises at 0.8 ha. It is envisioned as an "all-purpose complex" with an animal-therapy pool, an improved clinic and more space for dogs to run about, and is expected to cost about $7 million. SPCA is moving as its current premises has been marked by the Government as a residential site.

Ms Corinne Fong, SPCA's executive director, said the new place will allow it to take in about twice the number of animals it does now. Currently, the SPCA shelter can accommodate up to 80 dogs, 60 cats and 70 small animals such as rabbits and hamsters. She said: "We want to be sure that the animals get all the creature comforts for the time they are staying with us, until they are rehomed."

By 2pm yesterday, at least 2,000 SPCA "vouchers" have been bought. Property agent Wendy Chua, 39, who made a $20 donation, said: "I wish that all my paw friends can enjoy a shelter and good living environment without stressing about when their next meal is going to be."