A local animal welfare group plans to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in Madison County by opening a low-cost spay and neuter clinic next month.
However, the organization got a major boost this month when a local veterinarian donated his time and equipment to sterilize feral cats, according to Vicki Irwin, a board member of the Humane Society, Animal League for Life of Madison County.
“He gave us two spays or neuters of feral cats a day for three weeks,” Irwin said. She added that that veterinarian wanted to remain anonymous.
Jamie Bratcher oversees the local Trap, Neuter/Spay and Return program in Madison County. Irwin said Bratcher is working hard to trap and transport as many feral cats as she can to take advantage of donated surgeries.
“It’s keeping her busy,” Irwin said, noting Bratcher also works a full-time job.
Typically, people call the Humane Society wanting to do something about the stray cats in their area. The group will supply humane wire cages and bait them with moist cat food. Once a feral cat is captured, Bratcher takes the animal to the veterinarian for the surgery.
Once the cat is operated upon, it will recuperate for a few days at the Humane Society’s adoption center at 128-C Big Hill Avenue, Irwin said.
After receiving a rabies shot, the cat is returned to the area it came from. Typically, someone in the area will feed the local cat colony and keep an eye on their health, Irwin said. The spayed or neutered cats have the tip of their right ear clipped to indicate they’ve had the surgery.
The reason why the cats are not simply kept and put up for adoption is because they are unsuitable as pets, according to Irwin.
“They’re feral, that means they’ve had no contact with humans, or may have been scared or hurt by humans,” Irwin said.
Every now and then, they do encounter an animal that is suitable for adoption, Irwin said. The group recently trapped a beautiful Persian cat living in a pipe near the Perkins Building at EKU. He had a sweet personality, and after being neutered, he is now up for adoption, Irwin said.
The HSALL has been neutering or spaying feral cats for several years, and at least 100 feral cats have been surgically sterilized each year, Irwin said.
However, the group wishes to extend those services to pet owners who may struggle with the cost of spaying or neutering their dog or cat. Starting in mid-July, the HSALL adoption center will be the site of a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
Veterinarian Lorie Fuller, who performs low-cost spay and neuter surgeries throughout central Kentucky, will visit Richmond twice a month. Irwin said she hopes the clinic will eventually become weekly.
Surgeries will start at $30. Irwin did not have a precise price list yet, but spaying a female pet typically costs more than neutering a male because of the complexity of the surgery.
Finally, the HSALL is sponsoring a golf tournament Saturday in order to raise money for spay/neuter clinic. Irwin said the clinic will not receive county or city funds and is not affiliated with the national group, so its operations are completely dependent on local donations.
HSALL does get some local governmental support for its other programs.
The golf scramble at Battlefield Golf Course, 524 General Kruft Drive, will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Cost is $65 per person and $260 per team.
For more information and to register, visit www.hsallgolf.info or call 200-1221 or 200-6142.
For more information about the spay and neuter clinic, as well as the adoption center, call 626-5600. The HSALL adoption center is open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.