March is Women’s History Month, and Michigan Humane is celebrating by highlighting pioneering women in the animal welfare world. Every Friday throughout the month of March, we’ll share a story of how women changed animal lives.
Celia Hammond is a former English model turned animal advocate who was influential in spreading awareness of neutering cats to control the feral population in the U.K.
Hammond was one of the earliest adopters of the trap–neuter–return (TNR) model of managing the feral cat population. She developed her own methods and equipment in the 1960s, when many at the time considered euthanasia as the only solution to deal with feral cats. Hammond faced many challenges with local authorities, hospitals and health department officials, but was successful in rehoming or releasing thousands of homeless cats.
Hammond opened her own cat sanctuary for the cats she couldn’t find new homes for. She was instrumental in raising the status of homeless cats in the U.K. who deserved humane treatment. In 1986, Hammond founded the Celia Hammond Animal Trust to create low-cost sterilization and vaccination clinics in her home country. This allowed pet ownership to be more accessible to underserved communities. The first clinic opened in Lewisham, South London in 1995.
At the 2004 Annual General Meeting for The Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hammond was presented with the organization’s most prestigious award, the Richard Martin Award, for her lifelong dedication to animal welfare.