The $1 million bequest left to Bay of Plenty animals by an elderly widow last year will be administered by a trust, ending months of infighting and bickering.

Betty Napier's $1 million gift to the national office of the SPCA carried a rider that the money was to be spent in the western Bay of Plenty, including Tauranga and Waihi.

However, when the money was deposited in the national office's bank accounts, it began a round of bickering and infighting with locals saying they would never see the money and it would be spent on national programmes.

SPCA national chief executive Robyn McDonald said the bequest was always intended to be spent in the western Bay of Plenty in accordance with 88-year-old Mrs Napier's wishes but neither the Tauranga nor Waihi branches had responded to a request for ideas on how the money should be spent.

Now a trust had been set up, consisting of the national president and chief executive, the chairmen of both the Tauranga and Waihi branches, and Jacqueline McEwan, goddaughter and trustee of Mrs Napier's estate.

Ms McDonald said the money was earning interest in the national body's trust bank account and some had already been spent on urgent repairs at the Waihi shelter.

More would go towards the salaries of a shelter manager and inspector in Tauranga and the possibility of opening a cattery at Tauranga.

Other cash had gone towards a desexing caravan to desex mostly cats in the area and hopefully bring the wild and stray cat population under better control.

The caravan had already desexed 530 animals, including 460 cats, half of them female.

"When you think of the impact that makes on the number of animals that are likely to be born in the area, it is just huge.

"So the money has already made a huge impact on animal welfare in the Bay of Plenty."

She said everyone was now happy the money was being spent in the right areas.

- NZPA