Sacramento County Animal Shelter Has New Tool To FIght Cat Overpopulation

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 11, 2007

It’s 8 a.m. and workers at the Sacramento County Animal Shelter are cleaning cages and feeding dozens of kittens in the building’s kitty maternity room.
Volunteer coordinator Celeste Ingrid says most of the newborns in this room will be euthanized in the next few days:
 And as you can see in here, we have 80 kittens.  We’re not going to find 80 homes today for these 80 kittens, we have nowhere for these to go.
The warm months of spring and summer are known as “kitten season” for shelter workers, because that’s when cat mating and birthing cycles peak. 
Last month alone, the shelter took in about a thousand unwanted cats and kittens. 
Ingrid’s eyes tear up as she looks around the room filled with kittens, brought in by cat owners who didn’t want the litters:
It’s frustrating, it’s maddening.  Why aren’t people spaying and neutering?  A lot of people just don’t feel there’s a problem.
County officials say it’s a big problem, but there may be a solution - make it easier and cheaper for owners to spay and neuter their pets.
It’s our Spay-Neuter Commuter, which is our low cost spay-neuter mobile clinic.  
Vanessa Martin is with Sacramento County’s Animal Care and Regulation Department. She says if pet owners won’t come to them -- they’ll go to the pet owners.
Fees start at about 18 dollars.  We are doing walk-in appointments for cats.  But it’s always good just to call ahead in advance. 
Martin says the van has an onboard veterinarian and full surgical facilities.  The county is paying about 400-thousand dollars to buy and operate the van.  Martin calls it money well spent, since it costs the county about three million dollars a year to house and euthanize all the unwanted cats. 
The Spay Neuter Commuter will hit the streets for the first time on Wednesday.