The local SPCA is celebrating a milestone that, members feel, marks a turning point in their fight to reduce the number of homeless animals in Hants County.
Last February, Hants County SPCA members voted in favour of starting an early spay and neuter program that would ensure no animal left their care without being fixed first.
“We wanted to be as proactive as we could be because we wanted to cut down on the number of unwanted litters — especially in felines,” President Tammy Acker said.
“There’s a population crisis out there in North America.”
In 13 months, the SPCA has paid for more than 100 cats to be spayed or neutered, Acker said.
“We feel that with this process we have to be making a difference,” Acker said.
“We’re very proud to be able to say that there are no animals that leave our care without being spayed or neutered… because we know we are preventing suffering and death.”
Acker says female kittens must be deemed healthy, and weighing at least 2.5 pounds before they are fixed, and the timeframe varies for males according to their rate of development.
She estimated that the SPCA took in about 150 cats in 2011, and 37 dogs; in 2010 the SPCA claimed 29 canines. About 90 per cent of the animals taken in were adopted.
Acker said the number of cats accepted by the SPCA in 2011 decreased from 2010, but the rescue organization, which operates without a permanent shelter, had to turn some felines away this year because they did not have enough foster homes to send the cats to.
“We’re very proud to be able to say that there are no animals that leave our care without being spayed or neutered… because we know we are preventing suffering and death.” - Tammy Acker
She says the non-profit organization is always looking for foster homes, new members and funds.
Acker says it is always a struggle to find enough homes to house the stray cats found in the area, but she urges pet owners to contact the SPCA, or a vet, before letting a stray cat into their home because there are cats carrying the highly contagious feline leukemia virus in the area.
To view animals available for adoption, or learn more about the SPCA’s Hants Branch, visit www.spcsns.ca or search for the Hants County SPCA Facebook page.