Humane Society offers $30 spay-neuter
Seventy-eight: That's the number just released of dogs euthanized last year in Watauga County, and officials fear that number could rise.
"The biggest influx of animals we see are during puppy and kitten season in spring and fall," Watauga Animal Control's Anita Gomez said.
With spring just around the corner, it is not only important to spay or neuter your pets, it is essential, Humane Society's Kathy Copley said.
"Homelessness is the greatest cause of death for dogs and cats and spay-neuter is the vaccine for that," she said.
Cats in particular are a problem due to their high reproductive rates. Three-hundred and twenty-nine were euthanized last year at WAC. Compare the 78 and 329 to 67 dogs and 311 cats in 2008.
"If you have a stray cat, by all means bring it in and have it fixed," Copley said. "Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of unwanted kittens."
Feeding strays is a common act of kindness, she said, and when the cat starts to gain weight, you may think it is due to your generosity. The weight gain could indicate a new litter on the way.
Feral cats were a huge issue last year, Gomez said. "We found 46 cats in one barn," she said.
Most of those cats had to be euthanized due to issues like feline leukemia, spread quickly from the close quarters. Spaying or neutering would have prevented the problem, she said.
To fight back, Watauga Humane Society is partnering with Asheville-based Humane Alliance in a unique spay-neuter program.
Starting Thursday, Jan. 14, spay-neuter costs $30 for a limited time. The program happens on Thursdays and lasts until the money runs out, Copley said.
Cats and dogs should be at least 2 pounds and at least 3 months old. Cats and dogs can reproduce by 5 months, Copley said, so it is important to spay-neuter as soon as possible.
For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Watauga Humane Society at (828) 264-7865. Additionally, February marks spay-neuter month, so call your vet about possible discounts.