18 Nov 2015

Cook Islands vet service at risk

2:48 pm on 18 November 2015

. Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

The only veterinary service provider in the Cook Islands is in danger of closing down.

The Esther Honey Foundation has not had its lease renewed at their Nikao base where they have been for 10 years.

In September the Cook Islands Investment Corporation gave them 30 days to move, saying the clinic didn't fit their residential plan.

That deadline has since been extended until January.

Esther Honey president Cathy Sue Ragan-Anunsen says the foundation has been providing low-cost or free veterinary care for 20 years and this is now at risk.

Ms Ragan-Anunsen says the situation can also exacerbate the stray dog problem in the islands.

"When we came there were 6,000 dogs and we treated, spayed and neutered and significantly affected the number of wandering dogs on the island by approximately two-thirds. We have made a difference, but you need to continue and we provide free spayed and neutered."

Ms Ragan-Anunsen says the Esther Honey Foundation has recruited more than 400 veterinarians and support staff to travel to the Cook Islands, treating more than 42,000 animals.