The success of her snappy idea to reduce the number of abandoned animals has Pauline Tinker wishing she had started earlier, she says.
The Edendale woman started an animal welfare charity op-shop called Snaps in Mataura’s Bridge St last year with the idea of using the profit to subsidise the cost for animals to be neutered.
Snaps is an acronym for spay, neuter, adopt a pet, protect against unwanted kittens and puppies and stop all cruelty.
In the 15 months the shop has been open, 297 cats and 104 dogs had been neutered.
Ms Tinker said at the time she opened the shop she hoped it would be successful, but it had exceeded her expectations.
“We appreciate all the donations and we appreciate all our customers and we appreciate the people that are getting their animals desexed, especially,” Ms Tinker said.
“I wish I had started it 30 years ago.”
The problem of unwanted kittens and puppies was an easy one to fix, she said.
Some people thought it did not matter if male cats were not neutered.
“They can’t have kittens but they are the ones who go wandering around looking for the females, so they are just as big a problem.”
Since the Gore and Districts SPCA closed last year, people had brought her cats and kittens and she had rehomed about 50, as well as five dogs.
“They do know that I am a soft touch.
“I can’t say no to a cat or a kitten.”
She had heard from the veterinarians that it was harder for people who wanted to adopt kittens to find one and there did seem to be fewer stray cats about.
However, she knew of people who fed cats and did not get them neutered.
“They are just feeding the problem and causing it to get bigger,” she said.
Combined Vet Services, Gore (CVS) and the Edendale Veterinary Clinic were involved in the project, she said.
The original plan was to subsidise the first six male cats, first six female cats and the first six dogs which booked into CVS at the start of the month, but that had changed with the success of the shop.
“I just opened it up for anybody who went in with a cat or a dog because we could afford to.”
In July, veterinarians neutered 40 cats and 13 dogs.