Fix Your Friendly Outdoor Cats

Two low-cost spay and neuter clinics will be offered this year for the first time, the Door County Humane Society (DCHS) announced. The two clinics, specifically for friendly outdoor cats, are the result of collaboration between DCHS, Door to Door Veterinary Services, Northern Door Pet Clinic, and Peninsula Veterinary Service. There are a significant number of unsterilized cats in the barns and towns of the county, and each year the humane society sees the evidence in the forms of hundreds of kittens.

Carol Boudreau, interim director of the humane society, said, “Rather than continue to lament the lack of low cost spay/neuter services locally, we decided to ask for help. DCHS is very fortunate to have the support of the local veterinarians when caring for our shelter cats and dogs. When asked, veterinarians Carrie Franke, Sherry Billett, Jennifer Kerley, and Deb Johnson agreed to work with us to make this new service a reality. This is the first of several additional services that the humane society plans to undertake as part of an expanded role in the life of Door County animals and owners.”

The cost for a female spay or a male neuter is $65. Low-cost spay/neuter clinics are set up for maximum efficiency and differ considerably from the comprehensive services offered by a veterinarian to their private clients.

The first spay/neuter day will be Monday, May 11, at Pen Vet, located at 5654 County T in Sturgeon Bay. A second day-long clinic will be held in September at Northern Door Pet Clinic in Sister Bay. With locations in the south and north, it is hoped the convenience will encourage both homeowners and farmers with outdoor cats to book appointments. A limited number of cats will be scheduled for each day.

In addition to performing the spay or neuter, each cat will be blood-tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, receive a rabies shot, and the left ear will be surgically “tipped” indicating the cat has been sterilized.

When cat owners call the Door County Humane Society to make an appointment for spay/neuter surgery, the process will be explained in detail. The contract must be signed and $65 fee paid before the surgery is done. The low-cost spay/neuter clinic is directed at friendly outdoor cats, not feral cats or household pets.

Interim Director Boudreau highlighted the work done by DCHS to gain the veterinarians’ cooperation and research the best method to implement this new service.

“Our assistant animal care coordinator Ellen Pichler pulled together the best practices from locations around the state, put together a proposal, and then contacted our local veterinarians to explore the idea of a low cost spay/neuter service. It was gratifying to learn that there was a lot of support for this idea. Each veterinarian is bearing the cost of her staff and the surgical suite. DCHS is assisting with personnel, the paperwork, and arranging the appointments.

“Timing of the spring spay/neuter clinic is the first step in the fight to halt cat overpopulation in Door County. It is a problem that impacts the health of cats and other animals,” Boudreau continued.

She said that if the response is enthusiastic to these two clinics, there is the opportunity to add additional dates in 2016. To lock down the entire process and ensure each step was completed successfully, DCHS and Dr. Carrie Franke at the Northern Door Pet Clinic held a “test run” on Saturday, April 11, with 14 cats recently surrendered to the shelter. Of that total, the vet completed seven neuters and three spays, as the other cats were discovered to have been fixed unbeknownst to the surrenderers. Each aspect of the day was timed, and notes made on steps that will be improved.

To learn more about the May 11 spay/neuter clinic or to make an appointment, contact Ellen Pichler at DCHS, 920.746.1111 ext 7 or [email protected].