PHOENIX -- It's estimated the Valley has nearly 200,000 roaming and feral cats.
"Those are the cats that some people are feeding, they're not necessarily owned by anyone," said Bretta Nelson with the Arizona Humane Society.
"These pets are often unsocialized. If they go into shelters they tend to be very scared, some are very aggressive and it makes them very hard candidates for adoption."
Last year, Nelson said some 30,000 cats entered shelters and more than 17,000 were euthanized.
"These are little animals, little living beings and it's so important to let them live out their lives," she said.
The Arizona Humane Society has teamed up with the Animal Defense League of Arizona to offer the Spay/Neuter Pilot Program. People living in nine targeted zip codes can pick up free traps, set them out, take trapped cats to vets and have them spayed and neutered and no cost. So far, Nelson said they have sterilized nearly 6,000 cats.
"It halts, obviously, the breeding cycle, the bothersome behaviors: the spaying, the fighting, the yowling, those things decrease immediately."
The targeted zip codes include 85015, 85017, 85019, 85020, 85029, 85051, 85301 and 85302. Help is also available for neighborhoods outside those zip codes.
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