The SPCA is expanding its location in Dartmouth, with the new clinic offering affordable spay and neuter operations for its own animals, low-income pet owners and other rescue organizations.
“We really see us getting this up and running this spring in order for us to be ready to go during breeding season,” says Sandra Flemming, Director of Animal Care at the Nova Scotia SPCA.
It’s a part of a solution to the growing cat over-population problem that plagues Halifax, a problem which has been neglected in the past by Halifax Regional Municipality’s elected officials.
The need for such a clinic and municipal support is what former candidate, Tuxedo Stan, lobbied for in Halifax’s 2012 municipal election; his campaign slogan: “because neglect isn’t working” became a rallying cry among cats and their human allies across Halifax and in other cities across the nation. Stan hopes his message will encourage city council to paw out some money to help with the SPCA expansion.
About 35 wild cats live at the Halifax dockyards and Pierre Filiatreault cares for every single one of them.
“We haven’t had any kittens born here for about five years so it’s a very successful program,” says Filiatreault, who started Pierre’s Alley Cat Society.
The Department of National Defence paid to have every feline fixed. The organization is now run on donations and money from fundraisers.
Filiatreault says other trap, neuter and release programs are modeled after his.
“If the cats don’t get spayed and neutered, the multiplication of cats will be incredible,” he says. “Most of those cats don’t have food, yet they still multiply.”
The SPCA says more than 90 per cent of the unwanted, abandoned, stray and surrendered cats that come through the front doors aren’t spayed or neutered.
Coun. Steve Adams says a report regarding the feral cat population will be presented at city hall in the next few weeks. He wants to see the city invest.
“So it will be a modest investment, a one-time investment that will allow the cat groups and those that are helping them to continue on an going basis,” says Adams.
The SCPA is asking the Halifax Regional Municipality for $40,000 to help with start-up costs.
“We are one of the only provinces in Canada and the only city of our size that doesn’t have an aggressive strategy, or a strategy at all to deal with this issue,” says Flemming.
She hopes there will be a better option for people who can’t afford to fix their cats in a few months, and that the city will be there to support the cause.
It’s a dream that other rescue organizations that work toward eliminating cat overpopulation, such as Dartmouth’s Bide- Awhile Animal Shelter and Pierre’s Alley Cats, hope will soon become a reality. And, of course, it’s why Tudexo Stan leaped onto the hustings.
To visit the groups mentioned in the article or to make a donation to help with the clinic or with the groups working toward ending Halifax’s cat overpopulation problem:
Nova Scotia SPCA www.spcans.ca
Pierre’s Alley Cat Society www.pierresalleycats.com
Bide Awhile Animal Shelter www.bideawhile.org
As of May 2013 the Nova Scotia SPCA is proud to offer the first low-cost/high-volume, dedicated spay and neuter service in the province of Nova Scotia. Located in Dartmouth, the clinic will help with the Society’s mission and mandate which is the prevention of cruelty to animals. The most humane and responsible way to avoid the cycle of abuse, neglect and cruelty is to tackle overpopulation with spay/neuter strategies.