DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Animal Services (DAS) is encouraging the community to help save lives and reduce the number of homeless kittens in the city by getting cats in their neighborhood spayed/neutered for free this spring.

Now through March 31, DAS’s partners in the DFW Kitten Network coalition, SPCA of Texas, Spay Neuter Network and Feral Friends, are teaming up to spay/neuter outdoor cats for in the following zip codes: 75208, 75211, 75212, 75216, 75217, 75220, 75224, 75227, 75228 and 75243.

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“These ten zip codes account for the majority of the homeless kittens DAS received last year,” said DAS Director Ed Jamison. “If we can reduce the number of kittens born in these areas through spay and neuter, we can save hundreds of lives this spring.”

Animal shelters refer to spring and summer as “kitten season” because of the overwhelming number of kittens that arrive at shelters during this time. Kittens require around-the-clock specialized care and despite best efforts, there is still a comparatively low survival rate for orphaned kittens due to their vulnerability to diseases.

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“Last year, we saw more than 3,800 neonatal kittens enter our facility between April and October and most of these were orphans,” said DAS General Manager Jordan Craig. “We have dedicated resources and staff to care for and nurse these babies, but without their natural mothers, these orphaned kittens still struggle for survival. That’s why prevention through spay and neuter is so important.”

DAS kitten intake has increased over the past few years, and most of the kittens were born to community cats in those ten target areas. Community cats are cats that live outdoors and receive care from one or more members of the community. Spaying/neutering these cats is the only effective way to control the cat population and prevent nuisance behaviors like urine marking, yowling and fighting.

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If you live outside of the ten zip code areas, the cost to spay/neuter is only $25. For more information and to view available surgery times, visit spca.org or spayneuternet.org.