25K needed for population control

By Geoff Lee

December 5, 2016 4:02 PM

HELP CONTROL THE PET POPULATION A proposed spay and neuter program will cut the number of unwanted animals sent to the local shelter. The SPCA is seeking $25,000 from the city to make that happen.

Not as many cats and dogs will be prowling the streets of Lloydminster in search of love if a proposed spay and neuter program comes into effect in 2017.
In addition to an annual operation grant request of $50,000, Lloydminster and District SPCA is asking for $25,000 from the city to support an accessible spay/neuter program.
“Ideally, what you reduce is the number of unwanted animals,” said Jon Punshon, director of operations and community relations, of the SPCA, about spaying and neutering.
“If there is less unwanted ones then there is less unwanted ones that fill up the shelter.”
This year, the local SPCA shelter has taken in 569 animals from Lloydminster up to the beginning of November, with a growing number of unwanted animals in the mix.
“The largest number that we see are cats,” said Punshon, who noted there were 330 cats and kittens in the total with the rest being dogs and puppies.
The regional intake total for the same period was 983, but the spay neuter subsidized program is only   targeting low income Lloydminster pet owners who can’t afford to have their pet spayed or neutered.
“It is specifically created and designed to target people within that range,” said Punshon.
“So this is not a spay/neuter program for anyone, you do have to qualify for the program.”
Punshon said the goal of the program is to stop the proliferation of unwanted animals, by subsidizing it for those who can least afford it. In his funding request to council on Nov. 28, Punshon said similar programs have reduced the number of homeless animals in cities across Canada and the U.S.
He cited the success of a subsidized program run by the city of Regina and the Regina Humane Society (RHS) since 2008 as money well spent.
The RHS reported the number of incoming animals has decreased by 19 per cent since 2008 along with reduced euthanasia rates.
Regina provides a subsidy payment of $147,300 per year that is funded from animal licensing and general tax revenues.
Punshon said subsidized spay and neuter programs can be implemented in rural areas as well, but he noted the challenge in rural areas often is accessibility to veterinary clinics in the districts.
“There are programs can be developed to deal with those needs as well,” he stressed.
Punshon said a low cost spay neuter program is being proactive to deal with the systemic issues that exist at the base point rather than simply waiting for the litters to come in.
“You are ultimately trying to get as many animals spayed and neutered, so you can reduce the unwanted ones,” he said, instead of just letting shelters fill up.
“What we want to do is ensure that we are sustainable and that we can be available to truly help those animals in need.”
Punshon said another goal of the SPCA in 2017 is to fix its own fee structures with many of the outlying areas that send animals to the Lloydminster shelter.
“The fee structures that are in place by the surrounding RMs definitely need to be revisited, but that’s not the fault of the RMs,” said Punshon.
“That’s us needing to have those discussions with them—it’s not like the RMs have declined to pay those fees, it’s just the structure we had in place needs to be revisited.”
He said it’s the responsibility of the SPCA to sit down and meet with them and come up with an equitable solution that works for ratepayers in the RMs and is reasonable to the SPCA for the services they provide.
“That is one of our targets for the new year—it’s a two sided conversation,” said Punshon.

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