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Crusade To De-Sex..... Cats

Crusade To De-Sex.....

The clawing is over, Christiane Hepburn has ended her 12-year crusade to de-sex cats, and Auckland SPCA's De-sex and the City campaign has begun where she left off.

The Auckland SPCA has declared this week, 24-30 October, De-sexing Week, to encourage animal owners to take their furry companions to their local vet to be spayed or neutered.

Christiane has certainly made a great contribution to the de-sexing cause.

Christiane runs Claws, a one-person organisation that in 12 years has helped de-sex between 1,000 and 2,000 cats on Waiheke Island.

"A lot of people just don't realise how many times a cat can have litters," says Christiane, who supports SPCA Auckland's campaign.

One female cat can produce two to three litters every year and each litter can result in up to six kittens. In just one year, this female and her female offspring can produce 3200 cats.

"Pets must be de-sexed because there simply isn't enough homes" Christiane says.

"We mainly helped people who couldn't afford it or didn't prioritise de-sexing by paying half the cost."

Money was raised to fund de-sexing operations through a weekly stall at Waiheke's Ostend market, raffles and the odd donation from the Waiheke council.

Pet owners were given a voucher to take to their local vet to cover either half the cost or the entire cost for people who adopted stray cats.

"We became known as the cat stall and I was known as the cat lady," Christiane says.

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She began her quest to spey and neuter cats through her volunteer work at the SPCA.

Waiheke veterinarian John Hewitt said "Christiane's been the principle provider of help for people who needed assistance. There would be a lot more dead cats if she hadn't pushed to preserve wild cats through de-sexing rather than euthanize."

"By de-sexing as many cats as possible we are conserving the environment and retaining Waiheke as a bird sanctuary," Christiane says.

Christiane finished her crusade recently as the demand for her services has become less and less due to Waiheke Island's changing population.

"I'm now contemplating changing to dogs," she says.

Auckland SPCA's de-sex and the city campaign aims to finish what Christiane started by curbing the rapidly increasing amount of unwanted animals in Auckland.

"Getting Auckland pet owners to have their pets de-sexed is really the only remedy to reduce the number of animals we have coming into the village. Desexing is crucial." says Jane Thompson, General Manager of Auckland SPCA.

In recent years, the number of animals Auckland SPCA Animal Village receives has increased by almost 20 per cent.

Over 72 veterinarians in Auckland have pledged their support with many offering discounted rates during de-sexing week 24-30 October.

Pet owners who book their pet to be de-sexed at a participating vet during this week will receive a free gift for their cat or dog, and go in the draw to win fantastic prizes. More information is available on the website http://www.spca.org.nz

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