Reducing the explosion of stray cats across the district, a snip at a time, is the aim of Dannevirke SPCA.

And with an estimated 1500 marauding moggies in Dannevirke alone, it is a big task, Dannevirke SPCA centre manager Laura Phillips said.

"The only humane solution to the overwhelming cat problem is desexing," she added. " I believe we need to work together with the Tararua District Council and community boards and other community groups across the district and vets, as we need big plans to make a big impact on the welfare of animals.

"Here at the SPCA we need to be there for the many welfare complaints we receive and then the subsequent need to care for those animals, but we are constantly distracted by the plight of people's unwanted animals."


This week Ms Phillips told Dannevirke Community Board, financial support from that organisation and others was greatly appreciated last year and the SPCA was hoping to achieve even more if it is successful in securing more funding this year.

Ms Phillips, who came from Australia to New Zealand, said across the Tasman cats are registered and there are not the problems with strays seen here.

"For the SPCA, our money is best spent on desexing, because in Dannevirke, Woodville and Pahiatua it doesn't help the situation when people don't see it as important to get cats desexed.

"This is the only way I see which will make a difference to the exploding stray cat population.

"This is our way of making a real commitment and difference to the hundreds of unwanted cats in our region - by preventing them coming into our world with no one to take care of them."

While plans are still being formulated to desex cats, Ms Phillips said she has had great support from vets in Pahiatua and Dannevirke.

"I would then like to get the Royal New Zealand SPCA desexing van here to suck up all those cats from people who wouldn't pay to have them desexed."

However, the logistics of the operation need thinking about Dannevirke Community Board member Ross Macdonald said.

"How do you get hold of the strays and another problem is that people dump cats in the country."

Dannevirke Community Board is holding $2500 in funding for the SPCA which was approved last year, but not used as the organisation worked through its options. Richard Taylor, Tararua District Council's governance manager, said although this year's community board funding round had closed, he would put Ms Phillips' request onto the agenda for the next meeting. "Woodville is our concern at the moment," Ms Phillips said. "I will be talking with Woodville Districts Vision members about that."

District Vision's Peter Johns has already demanded Tararua District Council stop mucking around and bring in a bylaw to deal with feral and abandoned cats plaguing his town.

"Roaming and feral cats in Woodville are an issue, but we'd be sued if we did anything without a bylaw in place," he said.

Abused animals go through some pretty tough times, Ms Phillips said and to raise much-needed funds for local animals in need, Dannevirke SPCA and its supporters are showing how tough they are, by entering the Tough Guy and Girl Challenge, at Linton Army Camp in Palmerston North on May 28.

"We thought this would be a fun way of raising the funds and having a muddy day out and for those keen to run or hobble their way around the six kilometre obstacle course, it'll be a real sense of achievement to finish and know they've done their bit for our animals," she said.

- If you can help with sponsorship for the SPCA team in the Tough Guy and Girl Challenge, call Ms Phillips: 06 374 9849.