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Monthly clinic helps control pet population in Franklin County

August 06, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Pam Fox and Cayce Stover, volunteers with the Antietam Humane Society, review paperwork among the rows of cat carriers at Saturday's spay and neuter clinic at the humane society in Waynesboro, Pa.
Photo by Roxann Miller

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A mass of people holding cat carriers waited in line Saturday at the Antietam Humane Society for a spay and neuter clinic.

Debbie DeWees, executive director of the humane society, said feral and homeless cats are such a huge part of the growing pet overpopulation problem that the clinic is held every other month.

“It’s a humongous problem,” DeWees said.

From 8 to 9 a.m., 83 cats were dropped off in their cat carriers, which were stacked three high in the shelter waiting for Dr. Matthew Murphy of Keystone Mobile Veterinary Services in Chambersburg, Pa., to perform the procedures.

“Today’s number is actually a little low,” DeWees said. “We have done up to 150 in a day.”

Their owners picked up the cats later Saturday afternoon.

The word owner is a bit misleading because DeWees said many of the people dropping off the cats were farmers who received the cats because people dumped them off as strays.

“They are being responsible by bringing them here because it cuts down on the population,” DeWees said.

“I have seven (cats) here,” said Lori Schuchman of Greencastle, Pa. “They turned up on my farm.”

After the seven are spayed and neutered, Schuchman said they would live in the barn with her chickens.

“I firmly believe in spaying and neutering,” she said. “I couldn’t live with myself not doing something for them.”

April Barr of Greencastle, Pa., stood in line waiting to have her barn kitty spayed.

“When you have a farm, everybody thinks it’s a disposable drop-off area,” Barr said. “But somebody has to be responsible for them.”

Barr’s daughter Jillian, 13, found the emaciated cat near their farm.

So far, they have spent about $100 for exams and rabies shots, Barr said.

“If there is a cat in your neighborhood and you’re feeding it, that’s your cat. Take care of it,” Barr said. “Don’t just keep feeding it — it will keep breeding. If you don’t want it, don’t feed it, or take it to the humane society.”

Chase Newton of Mercersburg, Pa., and her daughter Cricket, 4, brought several cats to the clinic.

Like many of the others in line, Newton said the cats were dumped off at her house.

“We don’t mind if they live in the barn as long as they quit multiplying,” she said. “It’s absolutely insane how many cats can be produced from one.”

According to DeWees, the average number of litters a fertile cat produces is one to two a year and the average number of kittens is four to six per litter. So in one year, one cat could produce up to 12 kittens.

The spay and neuter clinic was offered free to residents in the humane society’s service area, which includes Antrim, Montgomery, Peters, Quincy, Warren and Washington townships.

A $100,000 anonymous donation from a Mercersburg man funds the free clinic.

Rabies and distemper vaccinations also were offered during the clinic for $10 per shot, DeWees said.

Next clinic

The Antietam Humane Society will hold its next spay and neuter clinic Saturday, Oct. 1, at 8 a.m.
Registration is required two weeks before the clinic.
For more information, call 717-762-9091.

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