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Organization aiming to control feral and stray pet population needs veterinarians

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HAMMOND — Spay/Neuter/Now is asking for veterinarians and municipalities to help its efforts to reduce the north country’s stray pet overpopulation.

The nonprofit offers spaying and neutering services year-round through a mobile clinic program for low-income people with cats and dogs as well as feral, colony and barn cats.

Currently, the organization has two paid veterinarians who drive more than four hours to offer consecutive days of mobile clinic sterilization surgeries in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties once a month.

“The north country is in great need of low-cost spay/neuter options for low-income owned cats and dogs and colonies of cats,” general manager Kevin T. Mace said. “While our operations depend on donations and fundraisers, our major limitations are skilled veterinarian availability and municipal participation, which we will need to make a significant dent in the cat and dog overpopulation crisis. Spaying and neutering is the most effective and humane means we have available to manage these populations.”

St. Lawrence Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Ogdensburg, has been a regular host of the Spay/Neuter/Now mobile clinic. The St. Lawrence Valley SPCA also hosted on-site clinics in 2013 while the mobile clinic was inoperable during the winter.

The mobile clinic typically averages 30 to 40 sterilization surgeries in a clinic day and administers vaccinations.

Of the 1,921 cats treated by the clinic from 2011 to 2012, 90 percent required rabies vaccinations and 96 percent required distemper vaccinations.

“Many people don’t know how important these vaccinations are and they are not taking their animals to receive basic veterinary care or meeting New York State laws regarding licensing or rabies vaccination,” Mr. Mace said. “A single cat with distemper can effectively kill the majority of an unprotected colony, and rabies poses a major risk to animals and people.”

Mr. Mace said that Spay/Neuter/Now is looking for municipalities and organizations to help promote animal sterilization in their communities.

“The town of Hammond, for instance, contributes a $10-per-animal discount for mobile clinic clients with eligible Hammond addresses,” he said. The St. Lawrence Valley SPCA contributes a $10-per-animal discount for mobile clinic clients with a St. Lawrence County home address.

“Some of the areas that we see a regular high volume of cats and dogs from in the mobile clinic include Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, Gouverneur, Lowville and Canton,” Mr. Mace said.

The Spay/Neuter/Now program has an application process with income guidelines. For information, call 486-0094 or 629-8651.

Spay/Neuter/Now and the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA are also jointly hosting the Spay/Neuter Charity Walk fundraiser on Sept. 15 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

Pledge sheets and additional details are available online at www.spayneuternow.org and www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

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