Northland's first dedicated desexing clinic opened yesterday offering low-cost services in a bid to decrease the canine and feline population in the region.
Mog and Dog Desexing Clinic has been set up by Auckland veterinary Jo Lin Chia after she established a similar clinic in Auckland.
Then came a cry for help from Whangārei with multiple rescue organisations in the North wanting a clinic.
Whangārei Cat Rescue's Samantha Emerson, who formerly worked with Chia, would send kittens her way.
"She would get drivers to drop off groups of sometimes more than a dozen kittens and community cats at a time, sometimes multiple times a week."
After 18 months of requests to set up a local clinic, Chia now has a partner clinic to her main practice Lynfield Vets.
"Having access to affordable desexing services is so important in trying to reduce unnecessary breeding. It is a heap of work to set up, but this is my passion."
Based at 50 Kioreroa Rd, Mog and Dog Desexing Clinic prices are $250 for female dogs, $200 for male, $80 for female cats and $60 for male.
Emerson, a mother of four kids, runs a community shelter as a "hobby" from her home and said she was thrilled her "begging" had paid off.
"We were involved with the first clinic and begged [Jo Lin] to one day come to Whangārei and she surprised us all and signed the lease for the building and kitted it out with surgical equipment.
"We no longer have to send a carload of cats to Auckland which is extremely stressful."
Onerahi-based M.A.D. Mission Animal Desexing/Kitty Catcher's Kelleigh Rudolph also traps stray cats which she gets desexed, and rescues and rehomes.
"We have been driving animals down to Auckland vets because it works out a lot cheaper.
"An affordable desexing clinic has been needed here for a long time. People have been asking for help and can't find any - sometimes they are told to just shoot them, which is crazy."
She said she plans to start a Spay it Forward desexing fund at Mog and Dog.
Initially, the clinic will be run two days a fortnight by Chia and two nurses from Auckland. If demand grew, the clinic aimed to be open five days a week with more permanent local staff, including Chia who was considering moving her family to Northland.