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December 1, 2009

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Group lacks money for its stray-cat campaign

A non-governmental group that is trying to control Shanghai's stray cat population - 100,000 and counting - is finding its work jeopardized for lack of funds.

The Shanghai Small Animal Protection Association, which has sterilized about 200 strays since starting earlier this year, is calling on the public for help.

The association put a notice online yesterday, asking for financial support and inviting more people to join as volunteers.

"Money is in urgent need from pet lovers to give sterilization to the stray cats, no matter how much it is," the notice said. "And other donations, like cat cages, are also welcomed."

Clinics charge 50 yuan (US$7.30)to neuter a male cat and 100 yuan to spay a female. After the association paid more than 10,000 yuan, the group found itself unable to make ends meet.

"The major problem is money," said Zhang Yi, the head of the association.

"We cannot cover such a big amount of money since the association is not government-funded and the money we collected from volunteers and animal lovers from the society is far from enough."

The organization's sole source of income is the membership fee of 200 yuan from each of the 50 members.

The association recently got 10 vet clinics to agree to give 10 free sterilizations every month and charge 50 to 100 yuan for additional ones.

The clinics will sterilize, vaccinate and treat the cats for diseases marking and releasing them. Add in costs of transportation, caring and cat containers, and the average cost for one cat is more than 100 yuan, according to Zhang.

The city is estimated to be home to at least 100,000 stray cats, a rapidly growing number since a cat can give birth to three to six kittens a year, many more offspring than a dog.

Residents who want to donate or adopt stray cats can call the association on 6143-2446.


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