Animal shelter aims for accessible pet ownership with low-cost spay/neuter clinics

Georgian Triangle Humane Society is hosting low-cost spay and neuter clinics in Meaford and Wasaga Beach next month.
Written by: Erika Engel | Published by

An upcoming subsidized spay and neuter clinic put on by the Georgian Triangle Humane Society is another way the shelter team is hoping to keep pets and people together.
“[Spaying or neutering a pet] is a ticket to a long and healthy life for the animal and it is not accessible to low, and, arguably, middle-income families,” said Sonya Reichel, executive director of GTHS. “We’re providing this service to pet owners whose pets have never seen a vet before … and ultimately it’s part of pet retention. We’re keeping pets and people together in those homes where they are loved and well-cared for.”

A community survey done by GTHS in 2016 and in 2019 revealed the number one issue pet owners face is accessibility to spay and neuter programs.
According to Reichel, the base price to spay or neuter a cat can be about $500 and for a dog it can be between $600 and $1,000.
The cost can be prohibitive for families who experience sudden job loss, health issues, or other financial strain. And it’s unaffordable for a family in a low-income or seniors in a fixed-income situation.

The GTHS recently took in a pregnant cat, Fidget, who delivered soon after arriving in the shelter.
Shelter staff believe this was her second litter in less than a year. She rejected the kittens. Shelter volunteers took shifts through the night to bottle feed the kittens, but none of the four survived.
Laren Parr, pet retention program coordinator at GTHS, said it was a particularly tough blow to the staff and volunteers who worked hard trying to help the kittens survive.
Minnow is another cat recently surrendered to the GTHS. She had recently had kittens and was full of milk, but GTHS staff don’t know where those kittens are or if they were found by anyone.
The story of Minnow and Fidget provide GTHS staff and volunteers with more reasons to organize the mobile, subsidized spay neuter clinics.
“Hopefully we can stop these problems before they occur,” said Reichel.

Parr said her research shows one unaltered female cat can produce three litters per year with average litter sizes ranging from four to six kittens. One unspayed cat and her offspring can produce more than 400,000 cats in their lifetime.

There will be two mobile spay and neuter clinics this spring and in the fall. The mobile clinic is owned by the Welland and District Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and there will be a list of GTHS volunteers including community veterinary technicians and veterinarians helping with the surgeries. There is room enough for eight dogs and 20 cats per day.
Owners are required to drop off their pets at the beginning of the day for an exam, and pick them up at the end of the day.
The cost for the clinics is $50 for a cat and $160 for a male dog and $190 for a female dog, which includes spay or neuter surgery, rabies vaccine, and a microchip.
To be eligible for the program, the pet must be between eight weeks and seven years old. The clinic is available to people earning a low income, receiving government assistance, and seniors. You can apply online here to find out if you qualify.

The clinics take place on April 27 and May 25 at the Meaford Fire Hall (81 Stewart Road, Meaford) and April 28 and May 26 at Wasaga Beach Sports Park (1888 Klondike Park Road, Wasaga Beach). There are still spaces available.

For more information, email the Animal Outreach program, or call 705-445-5204, ext. 223.

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!