Learning to care for abandoned animals teaches youngsters care and compassion, a charity said yesterday.

Jodi Corbett, humane education officer at the SPCA, said that the organisation’s annual summer camp helped children develop new skills in animal welfare.

She added: “It starts with the youth learning about animal care, kindness and compassion.”

And she said: “Kids that tend to enjoy animals tend to be more compassionate people.”

The children worked with animals, including cats, dogs, birds and rabbits, many of which have been abandoned or abused.

Cameron Morris, 14, decided to return to the camp after enjoying his time at SPCA last year.

He said: “It just feels nice because of what they’ve been through. It feels nice to just play with them.”

First-time volunteer Tayah Smith has only been with the SPCA for a few weeks — but she said she would encourage more people to volunteer.

She said: “It’s a pretty good job because they will get to care for animals.”

Tayah explained she first volunteered because she liked to help out animals that have suffered abuse from their owners or been dumped.

She said: “For people that want to volunteer I would say go ahead because animals deserve a second chance.

“I like to show people that animals deserve a second chance just like how people say humans deserve a second chance.”

Another first-timer, Allegra Tucker, aged 10, added she wanted to come back to the camp next year.

Allegra said: “It’s fun and I would like to gain more experience caring for cats.”

Shauna Silvester, executive director of the charity, based in Paget’s Valley Road, said it was “heart-warming” to see cats adopted from the shelter.

She added the SPCA had just taken in a litter of kittens which had now found a foster home through the foster kitten programme, which was inspired by the growing feral cat problem.

Ms Silvester said: “Kittens are easier to rehome. We need people to adopts cats.”

She added the SPCA had improved their facilities with a new outdoor cat play area and a similar dog park is planned.

The SPCA is holding their Annual Raffle Appeal which will go on until the end of September. In addition, the charity will hold its popular fundraising Whiskers and Wine event on Saturday, October 7.

Ms Silvester said: “It will be a nice evening with food, music and a silent auction.”

By Morgan Beckles The Royal Gazette