South Coast woman facing financial hardship to save animals from 'death row'

FLOCK: Inquisitive goat Nigel makes himself known while Lynne Thurston from South Coast Animal Rescue Inc. feeds his paddock pals Penny the goat and Jenna the pig.
FLOCK: Inquisitive goat Nigel makes himself known while Lynne Thurston from South Coast Animal Rescue Inc. feeds his paddock pals Penny the goat and Jenna the pig.

Lynne Thurston has a weekly $500 a week food bill – and that’s just for her livestock. 

The Tomerong resident who runs South Coast Animal Rescue Inc cares for abused and poorly treated animals, from dogs and litters of puppies, to horses, sheep, cows, pigs, goats and chickens. 

Her most recent rescue was a litter of puppies from Lithgow, who arrived after the owners were found handing them over the fence to anyone who would take them. 

She also has a rottweiler who is learning to walk properly after spending her early life locked in a tiny cage.

LOVE TO GIVE: Elderly shetland Bobby is seeing out his twilight years in the care of Lynne. Lynne has been rescuing abused and badly treated animals for 30 years.

LOVE TO GIVE: Elderly shetland Bobby is seeing out his twilight years in the care of Lynne. Lynne has been rescuing abused and badly treated animals for 30 years.

While she tries to find new owners for her four-legged guests, many with health issues find their permanent home on Lynne’s four acres. 

A passionate animal lover, Lynne said she can’t stand to see an animal in need, but the work is starting to take a serious financial toll. 

She said she’s fortunate to receive food donations from Coles at Vincentia and Aldi, along with Petstock Nowra and Ulladulla, but the cost of caring for her flock is leaving a serious dent in the bank account. 

“We’re going through what’s left of our super. It’s getting very scary to think that over the next 12 months there will be no super left.

Lynne Thurston

“My husband is very ill so neither of us are working and there’s no money coming in,” Lynne said. 

“We’re going through what’s left of our super. It’s getting very scary to think that over the next 12 months there will be no super left.

‘We need to win Lotto. We need a miracle.” 

With a range of medical issues, many of Lynne’s rescue animals have required vet treatment at some stage. 

NEW BEGINNING: Lynne will soon begin to find new homes for puppies Arthur and Garth who she rescued from Lithgow after they were found being handed over the fence to people passing by.

NEW BEGINNING: Lynne will soon begin to find new homes for puppies Arthur and Garth who she rescued from Lithgow after they were found being handed over the fence to people passing by.

An emergency visit to a vet at Sydney University set her back $9500. 

“We’re only just coping,” Lynne said. 

All of the animals in Lynne’s permanent care have a range of medical problems, from skin conditions to mental issues that require constant care. They can’t be rehomed. 

“I can’t even begin to think of what would happen to them if our money runs out,” Lynne said. 

Lynne started rescuing animals 30 years ago in Sydney. She was shocked to discover the ‘kill rate’ at many pounds was around 90 per cent and began a mission to save animals from death row. 

After moving to the South Coast ten years ago, she continued rescuing animals from individuals, slaughter houses and pounds across the state.

“I spot them on the kill list and I make it my mission to save them. I don’t do it at Nowra though because they’re fantastic at rehoming. Their rehoming rate is excellent,” Lynne said. 

Lynne starts every day off with “poo patrol” and feeding her animal family. She then cleans the guinea pig cages, has lunch, takes her 19 dogs for a walk and begins the process all over again. Her last holiday was more than 40 years ago.

HAPPY: Oakie will live out the rest of his years being well cared for by Lynne.

HAPPY: Oakie will live out the rest of his years being well cared for by Lynne.

“Several times I’ve gone ‘I can’t take it anymore’, but then another one comes along and they need my help and I do it again,” Lynne said. 

“It’s very rewarding but it can also be heartbreaking,” Lynne said. 

To continue her work Lynne is hoping to receive long-term sponsorship. If you can help out contact 0425 267 391. Donations can also be made at BSB 633 000 and account 144003373.

A fundraiser will be held on August 12 at Bomaderry RSL from 7pm. There will be live entertainment and entry is $5 at the door. Contact Jaybees Entertainment on 4443 3422.