Pittsfield, MA (October 12, 2015) — Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC), Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) will be able to continue its efforts to provide low-cost spay/neuter programs for cats and dogs in Berkshire County. This year the MAC grant will support two programs: Pittsfield Cat Fix and Be Hip & SNIP Your Dog.
MAC is a statewide, non-profit organization comprised of animal professionals and individual volunteers dedicated to decreasing the number of homeless, neglected, displaced and abused animals in Massachusetts. Through its annual “I’m Animal Friendly” license plates program, it disperses funds to humane organizations and municipal animal control agencies in the Commonwealth to provide low-cost spay/neuter services.
Collaborating with Animal DREAMS (AD), BHS has recently launched Pittsfield Cat Fix, a city-wide effort to spay/neuter both owned and stray cats in Pittsfield. AD is a local organization dedicated to caring for and improving the lives of stray or feral cats in Berkshire County primarily through Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR). TNR is the only method proven to humanely and effectively control the population of stray or feral cat. Cats in a colony are trapped, neutered and then returned to their territory where caretakers provide them with regular food and shelter.
With the help of the license plate grant, AD and BHS have targeted 500 cats in the 01201 zip code. For Pittsfield residents who own indoor/outdoor cats, the cost of spaying/neutering is $30 and includes a rabies vaccination. Discounts can be negotiated for multiple cats or litters. There is no fee for spaying/neutering stray or feral cats. A rabies vaccination is also included. Caretakers for these cats should contact AD to discuss arrangements.
Pittsfield Cat Fix is available for a limited time – until the goal of 500 cats is reached or May 31, 2016.
To learn more about Pittsfield Cat Fix, please call AD at 413-997-2287 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beginning on October 1st, BHS will also be hosting Be Hip & SNIP Your Dog for dog owners who live in North County and who are in financial need. Through this program, BHS will be able to offer low-cost spay/neuter for approximately 50 dogs and puppies three months and older. To participate in Be Hip & SNIP Your Dog, dog owners need to purchase a $25 voucher at either the main shelter in Pittsfield or Bark N’ Cat in North Adams. Once they purchase the voucher, they’ll need to schedule an appointment with a participating veterinarian and then submit the voucher on the day of the surgery.
Veterinarians taking part in Be Hip & SNIP Your Dog are Greylock Animal Hospital, North County Veterinary Hospital, and Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital. To schedule a surgery appointment at Greylock Animal Hospital, please call 413-663-5365 after October 1st. To schedule a surgery appointment at North County Veterinary Hospital or Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital, please call 413-499-1580 after November 1st and ask for Emily.
The $25 fee includes spaying/neutering and a rabies vaccination. Vouchers will be available on a first come, first serve basis and be limited to two per family. Additionally, the wait list for a surgery appointment may be two months or longer. There will be no refunds. For more information, please call the BHS kennel staff at 413-447-7878, ext. 126.
“Since our inception, Berkshire Humane Society has been committed to providing low-cost spaying and neutering to families who cannot afford this important surgery,” explains John Perreault, Executive Director of BHS. “Over the years, we’ve spayed or neutered almost 5,000 dogs and cats through our community outreach programs and significantly reduced the homeless pet population. We’re very grateful to the Massachusetts Animal Coalition, Animal DREAMS, our participating veterinarians, and Christa Abel of Bark N’ Cat for partnering with us for Pittsfield Cat Fix and Be Hip & SNIP Your Dog.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that about 7.6 million animals are surrendered to shelters nationwide each year; sadly, 2.7 million of them are euthanized annually. Spaying and neutering is one of the most efficient and humane ways to decrease these numbers.
Besides reducing the homeless pet population, spaying and neutering has many other benefits, including health, behavior, and cost. According to the ASPCA, spaying female cats or dogs before their first heat cycle reduces their chances of uterine infections and breast cancer; neutering male cats or dogs before they are six months old decreases their risk of testicular cancer. Males who are neutered don’t roam in search of a mate, and dogs are more apt to focus on their family members, making their training easier. Finally, the cost of spaying and neutering is less than the cost of raising a litter of kittens and puppies.
To help support the effort to end pet overpopulation and homelessness in Massachusetts through low-cost spaying/neutering, BHS encourages all community members to purchase an “I’m Animal Friendly” license plate. The tax-deductible plates are available at local Registries of Motor Vehicles or at www.petplate.org