Spay and Neuter Program for the Pets of Low Income Families
**Overview:** Pet overpopulation continues to be one of the most significant problems facing animal shelters and rescue groups in communities across North America. In September 2011, at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS), 165 cats and kittens were adopted in three days at our Feline Football Fever cat adoption incentive yet three days after the event ended, we had so many cat and kitten admissions, we could no longer accept any owner-surrendered cats or kittens. We simply had no room!
The pet overpopulation crisis is a direct result of animals left unaltered in our communities. For us, as for most shelters, the problem seems only to be increasing. Expanding shelter space does not seem to help the issue. In fact, since we moved to our new shelter two years ago, we have had a 20% – 25 % increase of admissions each year. Last year, that was over 13,000 animals. We know that adding more space will not solve the problem of more admissions. The best solution to curbing the pet overpopulation problem is to prevent the birth of unwanted litters through spay and neuter surgery.
At the Edmonton Humane Society, we spay and neuter all cats, dogs, kittens, puppies and rabbits before they go on the adoption floor. We educate and encourage people to spay and neuter their animals. Still, we constantly struggle to find room in our shelter for homeless animals, especially cats and kittens. It’s not always that people don’t understand the value of having their pet spayed or neutered. Sometimes, they simply can’t afford it.
**Who we are:** The Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) was first organized in 1907 by its founder, Rosetta Graydon - Edmonton’s first humane educator. The EHS was then incorporated as a non-profit animal welfare society in 1910, and issued its Charter in 1912. During about a hundred years of operation, the non-profit organization has dedicated its efforts to sheltering and speaking for homeless and abused companion animals.
Through partnership and innovation, the Edmonton Humane Society (a registered charity), is committed to helping homeless and abused companion animals, enlightening people and enriching lives.
**The Problem:** Most people understand the value in spaying or neutering their pets, but some people cannot always afford the fees. We can prevent the animals we take into our shelter from reproducing by spaying and neutering them before they are placed on the adoption floor, but how do we help those people who truly want to solve the problem, but simply can’t afford it? We want to offer a preventative solution to stop the cycle of unwanted animals before it begins.
**Our Solution:** The Edmonton Humane Society proposes to launch a low or no cost spay and neuter program for low-income families in our community. To do this, we need surgical and medical equipment and supplies. We also need resources to staff the clinic, coordinate clinic dates and work with pet owners who apply to the program. We will also offer follow-up resources and education materials for owners.
1. Through our spay and neuter program, we would be giving back to both people and animals in our community. By offering a service to people who want to spay or neuter their animals but simply don’t have the means to do so, we can help prevent the cycle of unwanted animals before it begins.
2. Because we partner with a number of educational institutions, there are opportunities for students - in the areas of veterinary medicine or support - to train with us.
3. We would educate the public in lower income areas about the value of spaying or neutering their pets. This information would be passed from neighbour to neighbour, promoting responsible pet ownership throughout our community.
4. Ultimately we hope to drastically reduce the number of homeless pets in our community!