Bangor Humane Society receives grants to help reduce pet population

This kitten from the Bangor Humane Society (photographed in 2010) wants to remind you to spay and neuter your pets to prevent overpopulation. A new grant program is making it even easier to help! Photo by Debra Bell

This information from the Bangor Humane Society is just too good to not share! Press release courtesy Bangor Humane Society.

Monday, February 6, 2012 – An estimated 6-8 million homeless animals enter animal shelters throughout the U.S. every year. The Bangor Humane Society alone takes in over 5,000 animals a year. Two-thirds of those animals are cats. That is why the Bangor Humane Society is thrilled to announce that due to the generosity of the Belvedere Animal Welfare Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, and from other generous local foundations, a Spay/Neuter Voucher Program for low-income cat and dog owners opens on February 6, 2012.

This program is available to anyone who receives or is eligible for Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD), or Maine Care (Medicaid).  Starting on Monday, February 6th, they can call 942-8902 to apply and then, if qualified; receive a voucher that they can use at participating veterinary practices.  For an average co-pay of $20 for male cats and $30 for female cats; $25 for male dogs and $40 for female dog (cost does not include additional fees that may be required by participating veterinarians) their pets can be spayed or neutered and receive a rabies shot.  The low-income spay/ neuter grant funds received by BHS will cover the remaining cost.

“The increased availability of spay/neuter will help to reduce the number of unwanted litters surrendered to animal shelters”, said Suzan Bell, Executive Director of the Bangor Humane Society.

Last year BHS accepted 480 owner-relinquished dogs and 390 stray dogs.  During the same time it accepted 3,032 owner-relinquished cats and 597 stray cats.  Many of the dogs, and most of the cats, would not have arrived at BHS if owners had sterilized their pets.  In fact, many of the cats arrived at BHS pregnant or with a litter of kittens.

The funds available for the BHS program are limited and not expected to last more then a couple of months.  Last year, the BHS spay/neuter funds were able to assist over one hundred applicants, but almost 100 more names were put on a waiting list.

Here are some of the facts about spaying and neutering:

  • One female cat and her offspring can produce over 420,000 cats and kittens in seven years.
  • One female dog and her offspring can produce over 67,000 dogs and puppies in six years.
    • Neutered male dogs and cats are less likely to spray or mark their territory with urine than their unaltered counterparts.  They are also less likely to run away from home in search of a willing mate.
    • A female kitten can get pregnant as early as 4 ½ months of age.
    • It often costs less to have a pet spayed or neutered than to raise a litter of puppies or kittens to eight weeks           of age.
    • The Bangor Humane Society spays & neuters all pets before adoption into a new home.

In addition to the grant funding, BHS is also implementing some other spay/neuter programs to help reduce the number of unwanted pets, available to assist those individuals in the community that do not qualify for the voucher program. BHS has contracted with local veterinarians to host a monthly feline spay/neuter clinic at the shelter. The clinic can accommodate a minimum of 40 felines per month and charges $25 per male cat and $50 per female cat. The clinic is cash only. For an additional fee, felines can also receive their rabies shot, flea and ear mite treatment, and nail clipping. Interested individuals can contact BHS for more details. Space is extremely limited and we have a waiting list through March.

Lastly, BHS is launching a new initiative called, “Spay Your Mama” available for female canine owners. If an owner’s female dog has recently had a litter of puppies, the Bangor Humane Society will spay the mom for nominal fee, if the owner surrenders the puppies for adoption. The mom dog will be returned to the original owner for a $50 reclaim fee, while the puppies are spayed or neutered and placed for adoption.

The community need for sustainable spay/neuter programs is vast and ongoing.  “The need is great (and increasing) in our region for low income spay / neuter programs, but the resources available through BHS, the State of Maine Animal Welfare program and other agencies are limited,” says Bell.

Each year the BHS cares for and works to find forever homes for more than 5000 homeless pets.  The Bangor Humane Society is an independent, non-profit organization, funded by local contributions and donations.  Finding safe homes for animals is not just our mission here at the Bangor Humane Society, it’s our tradition, and we thank the community for helping us accomplish this goal each day.