December 29, 2006
Richmond, Va. Beginning in January, the Richmond SPCA is providing free spay/neuter surgeries to owned cats within SPCA service areas through March 31. This promotion was designed to ease cat overpopulation during the spring breeding season.
All residents in Richmond, Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfield and Goochland who own a cat are eligible to receive the free procedures, including rabies vaccination, regardless of household income. By providing the services for free, the SPCA hopes to prevent the birth of hundreds of orphaned kittens.
The program is an extension of the organization’s existing free spay/neuter campaign, which was launched in 2005. That initiative provides the surgeries at no cost to cats and dogs belonging to residents with incomes less than $30,000, feral cat caregivers, pit bulls or strong pit bull mixes and full-time college students.
“Last year there was a tremendous response to the free cat surgery promotion we began in February,” said Richmond SPCA CEO Robin Starr, “leading us to begin offering free surgeries to cat owners earlier this year and for a full three months. By expanding this offer to all cat owners, regardless of income, we are furthering our goal to increase the number of procedures performed in our clinic and reduce pet overpopulation in advance of the spring breeding season.”
Call volume in the Richmond SPCA’s Smoky’s Spay/Neuter Clinic increased 70% last year as a result of the campaign. The organization pledged to perform a total of 9,000 surgeries annually beginning in 2005 in order to make Richmond a no-kill community by 2008. The spay/neuter goal was exceeded in each of the last two years, with 10,000 surgeries performed in 2005 and 11,017 performed in 2006.
“As a result of sterilizing more cats early in the season, there was a noticeable impact in the number of unwanted litters of kittens last year,” Dr. Angela Ivey said. “This year we expect an even greater impact on the population by making free surgeries available earlier in the breeding cycle.” Ivey is the director of veterinary medicine at the Richmond SPCA.
In addition to free surgeries for pets of qualified owners, low-cost spay and neuter services are also available and range in cost from $20 to $50. For more information, please call the Richmond SPCA’s Spay/Neuter Helpline at 521-1300.
The Richmond SPCA is a no-kill humane society dedicated to the principle that every life is precious. The non-profit organization finds homes for more than 3,000 homeless animals each year. As a national leader in humane care and education, the Richmond SPCA is aggressively tackling the problem of pet overpopulation through education, adoption, rehabilitation and sterilization.