The SPCA’s mobile desexing campaign saw more than 400 animals desexed in Northland’s rural communities and prevented around 1000 unwanted animals from being born into struggling families that couldn’t afford to feed them.
The mobile clinic - called “Snippy” - was temporarily located in seven towns during the 10-week campaign which started in Moerewa in the Far North in mid-September.
The clinic, which included vet and administration staff, then went on to Dargaville, Waimamaku, Rawene, Opononi, and Ahipara before finishing up in Pukenui on November 16.
Nearly 300 dogs and cats were desexed for free during this time, and another 130 are on the waiting list which will be desexed through the SPCA’s Northland vet partnerships, including Bay of Islands Veterinary Services.
Once those animals have been done, more than 400 cats and dogs would have been desexed through the initiative.
SPCA national desexing programme manager Rebecca Dobson, who was in Northland for the campaign, was delighted with the result.
Dargaville saw the biggest turnout, followed by Ahipara, she said.
“It was good to get out there and see the impact desexing makes,” Dobson said.
“Not just for the animals because it’s better for them... but also for the people.
“There’s a lot of people out there who would be struggling to feed those extra mouths.
“Now they don’t have that pressure on them and they’re in a better situation.”
Dobson said one woman was “almost in tears” as she thought her cat was pregnant and she couldn’t afford to feed a litter of kittens.
“It was pretty much the same theme the whole way through.
“Everyone we dealt with was so positive and enthusiastic about the service.
“In Waimamaku, a man who had just got his dog desexed, said to other people standing around ‘you should get yours done too’.”
As well as desexing, pets received free vaccinations, microchipping and flea and worm treatments.
Dobson said the clinics would have made a difference in Northland, where there were “extremely high numbers” of unwanted animals which led to animal welfare issues and put pressure on local animal shelters.
“We need people to prioritise desexing as a key part of pet ownership,” she said.
The mobile clinics were part of region-wide efforts to reduce unwanted litters in Northland.
The SPCA has funded other community desexing initiatives, including a partnership with Bay of Islands Vets and Coast to Coast Cat Rescue to desex 600 animals.
Jenny Ling is a news reporter and features writer for the Northern Advocate. She has a special interest in covering health, food, lifestyle, business and animal welfare issues.