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Ambitious targets exceeded in two-year desexing campaign

05 July 2024

SPCA’s two-year desexing campaign has ended, and targets have been exceeded with 36,227 animals being desexed over the two-year period, preventing an estimated 135,873 unwanted animals being born. Even though the two-year campaign has ended, our desexing work at SPCA doesn’t stop.

Ambitious targets exceeded in two-year desexing campaign

In 2022 we announced the launch of our two-year desexing campaign to combat the overpopulation of companion animals in New Zealand. This has been a key focus to tackle the immense strain put on SPCA, and other animal shelters and rescues around the country.

It has been an extremely busy two years for SPCA’s desexing programme, with a total of 36,227 animals desexed over the campaign period – 6,227 over and above our goal.

With such a high number of animals being desexed, this is estimated to have prevented a whopping 135,873 unwanted kittens and puppies being born into potential lives of neglect.

Rebecca Dobson, SPCA’s National Desexing Programme Manager, says this is the result of a lot of hard work.

“At SPCA, our focus is on prevention of cruelty to animals, and desexing plays a crucial role in this,” Ms Dobson says. “By preventing so many unwanted animals from being born, we know this will have a long-term positive impact that will be noticeable in our communities.”

Desexing not only reduces the number of stray and unwanted animals, and but it also has other health benefits for your pet. These include lowering the risk of certain cancers, increasing an animal’s life span, and reducing unwanted behaviours such as marking, cat fights, aggression and roaming.

Our two-year desexing campaign has involved a lot of different initiatives – read on to learn more.

Snip 'n' Chip

Snip ‘n’ Chip is one of our ongoing desexing initiatives for cats, which offers cat owners the chance to desex their pets for a fraction of the standard cost. We provide vouchers that cat owners can take to one of our participating vet clinics, who will then carry out the desexing surgery and microchipping.

Since our campaign began, we have desexed a total of 15,454 cats through our Snip ‘n’ Chip campaigns. This is estimated to have prevented 61,816 unwanted kittens being born.

New Snip ‘n’ Chip locations are announced and vouchers are released via our desexing website.

SPCA Snip 'n' Chip

Vet partnerships

We were glad to be able to set up a partnership with Bay of Islands Veterinary Services, with SPCA funding the desexing, microchipping and vaccinations of 789 dogs and 776 cats in the last year alone.

Bay of Islands Veterinary Services have been able to carry out the procedures at their many clinics throughout Northland, while Coast to Coast Cat Rescue has helped with organising the bookings and transportation of some of the animals.

We also have partnerships with TopVets, Far North Vets, Phoenix Animal Wellness, and Donna Doolittle’s Animal Wellness.

Through all of these partnerships, we’ve desexed a total of 1,240 cats and 1,207 dogs. This is estimated to have prevented 4,960 unwanted kittens and 3,018 unwanted puppies being born.

The team at Bay of Islands Veterinary Services
The team at Bay of Islands Veterinary Services

The SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic

In July of 2023 we announced our new and greatly improved Mobile Desexing Clinic. This purpose-built vehicle replaced the much older desexing caravan, which was decommissioned due to significant structural issues.

The new Mobile Desexing Clinic was funded by a very generous group of donors; Lillian Combes, Giltrap Group, Walter and Adrianne Titchener Foundation, and The Dog Protection Society. We are incredibly grateful for their support.

Since its debut, the vehicle has travelled to communities where the number of stray animals is particularly high. First up was Northland, where stops included Moerewa, Daragavlle, Waimamaku, Rawene, Opotiki, Ahipara and Pukenui.

The SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic more recently visited Wellington, where it spent several weeks in Porirua and the Hutt Valley.

One pet owner who used the desexing services, said the initiative came just at the right time.

“We are a family on one income, so with the current financial stresses that everyone is seeing at the moment, this Mobile Desexing Clinic just took that stress away,” Emma said. “Thank you for making the whole process easy and stress-free, and the care and love your team showed Lily was so lovely to see!”

From these journeys and our previous caravans trips, we’ve desexed a total of 731 cats and 258 dogs. This is estimated to have prevented 2,916 unwanted kittens and 645 unwanted puppies being born.

The SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic was purpose-built after the previous caravan was decommissioned.
The SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic was purpose-built after the previous caravan was decommissioned.

SPCA Desexing Grants

It’s not just SPCA that struggles with the huge numbers of animals that we see every year, but various other animal rescues around the country.

To help as many other rescues as possible, we introduced SPCA Desexing Grants. The grants are available to cover the costs of desexing any species, in any location in New Zealand.

“By offering financial help to other rescue organisations, we’re working together to achieve the same goal,” says Ms Dobson. “The overpopulation issue is widespread, so by offering assistance we’re able to tackle the number of unwanted animals together and have a greater impact.”

So far, we’ve had 74 successful grants, which has supported the desexing of 3,951 animals. The species include cats, dogs, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs.

Rescue organisations that are interested in learning more about the grant should visit https://www.nzcat.org.nz/awards/spca-desexing-grant/ for more information.

Other desexing

SPCA is sometimes able to assist members of the public with desexing when they’re struggling with the current cost of living crisis. The desexing of pets is often not the priority for many families when they are under financial strain.

With this additional assistance, 13,386 desexing surgeries have been completed over the two-year campaign period.

“We know that times are tough,” Ms Dobson says. “What a lot of people don’t realise is that SPCA doesn’t receive any Government funding at all for activities like desexing. We receive approximately 10% Government funding that can only be used for our Inspectorate.”

“That means we rely purely on generous donations to keep our desexing initiatives running. We’ll continue to do whatever we can to help the communities that are struggling.”

Inside SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic

While the two-year campaign has ended, our desexing work at SPCA doesn’t stop.

Our desexing programme aims to desex at least 16,000 animals per financial year over the next decade, and this initial two-year campaign was in place to establish important metrics and targets for future years.

“It’s certainly a long-term challenge,” Ms Dobson says. “The overpopulation of companion animals in New Zealand is a community problem that can’t be solved overnight, and this is why desexing will remain a key focus for us into the future.”

“We also rely on pet owners to do their bit. Desexing is one of the most important things you can do for your animal, so please desex your pets if you haven’t already, and encourage your friends, whanau, colleagues and neighbours to do the same.”

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our partner vet clinics, shelters, rescue groups, and our generous donors for helping to make this important work possible.

Can you donate to help us continue our desexing initiatives? With your support, we can continue to offer these services into the future.

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