WPCCAS encourages spay/neuter

Staff Writer

This has been a busy spring and summer for the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter. The shelter has been over capacity with cats and kittens for more than two months. The shelter has been home to more than 100 animals on a daily basis and more puppies and kittens are being brought in by Animal Control each day. There is only one way to control the over population of kittens and puppies and that is by spaying and neutering pets.

"We have had a more animals brought into the shelter than any previous year," said Lisa Henley, director of the WPCCAS. "Pet owners need to be responsible for their pets and have them spayed and neutered. We do not allow any kittens, puppies, cats or dogs to be fully adopted from this shelter without being altered."

She said those wishing to adopt may take an animal home as a foster until adoption. The pet can only be fully adopted after spay or neutering. This can be done as soon as the animal reaches a certain weight. It is included in the adoption fee. Cats or kittens have a $30 adoption fee, dogs have a $40 adoption fee.

"It's an old wives tale that female dogs need to go into heat at least once before spaying," said LeeAnn Simpson, veterinarian with the WPCCAS. "Many older vets may think that way, but it isn't true. It's better to spay and neuter early in a pets life."

The Animal Health Foundation says spaying female dogs and cats reduces the incidence of mammary cancer, eliminates uterine and ovarian cancer risk and prevents pyometra, a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus. Neutering male animals protects them from prostatic hypertrophy and infections, as well as testicular cancer and certain types of hernias. It also eliminates many less desirable animal behaviors including roaming and territorial aggression.

"It is far healthier for the pet to be spayed or neutered," Henley said. "If nothing else, it keeps them from roaming. It keeps male cats and dogs from marking territory by spraying furniture in the home. The main thing is that is keeps unwanted puppies and kittens from being born."

The WPCCAS offers a low-cost spay neuter to those whose household incomes are less than $30,000 a year. The grant provides a payment of $50 to a qualified veterinarian for a cat or $70 for dog to be altered.

"We would love to use up every bit of this grant money for this purpose," Henley said. "We have three veterinary clinics in West Point and Clay County who will accept this money from us toward having a pet altered. The money can only be used for spay/neuter, so we are happy to use it."

Henley said the shelter does not accept the surrender of personal pets unless it is from a deceased pet owner and the family will not take responsibility for the pet or the owner is being deployed by the military.

"We are an animal shelter, not a humane society," Henley said. "We don't euthanize to make more room. Animals who are here, live here until an adoptive home is found. We can only house so many animals.

"If owners allow their dog or cats to have litters it is not our problem," Henley said. "It is the owners problem. You can't refuse to get your pet fixed and expect us to deal with the consequences. Be a responsible pet owner and have your pet spayed or neutered."

The WPCCAS also offers a Trap, Neuter and Release Program for feral cats. The shelter will loan a trap and instruct the person how to set it up,

"This is for wild cats that cannot be handled," Henley said. "Set out the trap, catch the cat and bring it in to us to be altered. After the cat recoverers from surgery it will be released to where it came from. The ear will be tipped to identify it as a spayed or neutered feral cat, in case it is trapped again."

With the onslaught of puppies and kittens this season, the shelter is in need of donations and supplies.

"The supply of tick and flea control of the shelter pets has been depleted," Melanie Elmore, staff of the WPCCAS said. "We have a wish list on Amazon and we ask people to purchase from the list so we can provide the pets with flea and tick preventative. Just go to Amazon and click on gift cards and registry, when prompted to find someone's list, type in West Point Clay County Animal Shelter. Any amount is appreciated."

Flea/tick preventative can be purchased from Tractor Supply, PetSmart, Walmart and local veterinary clinics.
For more information about spay/neuter or to help the shelter, like the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter on Facebook, or call 524-4430.