A Cause For Claws - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

A Cause For Claws

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What started as a labor of love for homeless cats showing up at his house has become a passion for helping humans in the process.  

"A bunch of cats showed up in my back shed one winter. I took care of them. Then those kittens had kittens, and pretty soon I was looking at 35 kittens in my yard, and I'm going, 'something is wrong here.'"  

Something was.  And it went far beyond Lee Rittel's shed.  "And I thought, basically, it was an isolated case until I started talking to people," says Rittel, Founder of "A Cause for Claws."

What he found startled him.

Shelters and pounds were overwhelmed.  "They're full. A year and a half wait to get an animal in there on a waiting list of 400."  He also learned it's simply too expensive for many people to spay and neuter so many animals.  "You have people with 35 cats, 70 cats, 60 cats, and they don't know, really, what to do with them, because paying 200 to 300 dollars, it gets very expensive," says Rittel.

So Lee Rittel did something many would consider extreme. He attacked the problem by attacking his retirement account.  "The money had to come from somewhere."  

With that money, he's opening "A Cause for Claws Thrift Store" to generate funds to operate a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic.  He says it'll be the first of its kind in North Dakota.  Starting in Bismarck, he eventually plans to cover the entire State.  "We'll go to oil country and/or wherever we need to be. Wherever there's a problem, we're going to attack it."

And if attacking a retirement fund to help solve North Dakota's animal control problem is any indication, you can likely take Lee Rittel at his word.

"A Cause for Claws Thrift Store" is expected to open within a month at 12th and Basin in Bismarck.  They're asking for your donated items -- as well as funds to help purchase the mobile spay and neuter clinic.  For more information, go to www.bismanspay.org.  

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