An animal protection agency in the Cook Islands is to undertake a mass programme to de-sex thousands of dogs on Rarotonga, in an attempt to curb an overpopulation problem.
The SPCA president, Sharon Reichardt, says there are up to 3,500 dogs on the island, with about half of them still unneutered.
She says as a result a growing number of dogs are being mistreated and requiring emergency care.
Ms Reichardt says de-sexing is a simple procedure that prevents unwanted puppies being added to an already unmanageable dog population.
The SPCA aims to raise about $US30,000 to kick off the de-sexing programme which will take about six to eight months to complete.