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Four years after Taffy was rescued from the street, his family was able to have him neutered, thanks to the Mayor's Alliance free spay/neuter clinics that launched this summer.

Four years after Taffy was rescued from the street, his family was able to have him neutered, thanks to the Mayor's Alliance free spay/neuter clinics that launched this summer.

Out of the Cage! (Summer 2008)

PETCO Foundation Grant Funds New Spay/Neuter Program for NYC Cats

Low-income New York City residents are getting a break on spay/neuter surgeries for their companion cats, thanks to a new Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals program funded by a generous grant from the PETCO Foundation. This summer, the Mayor's Alliance, in partnership with NYC's Animal Care & Control (AC&C), began staging free spay/neuter clinics for cats, by appointment, at the Brooklyn AC&C shelter.

The program is designed to provide the city's financially strapped cat owners with a means of having their cats altered — something many of them have avoided because they cannot afford the cost of the surgery by a private veterinarian. "By offering the surgeries free of charge to these pet owners," says Janell Granier, Director of Programs for the Mayor's Alliance, "we're reaching a population of cat owners who want to do the right thing but simply have not had the monetary resources to do it."

Most of the individuals who sign up for the clinics receive some form of financial assistance. However, many of them do not receive Medicaid, and therefore don't qualify for low-cost spay/neuter through the Maddie's Spay/Neuter Project in NYC, another program administered by the Mayor's Alliance. For these pet owners, the free spay/neuter clinics provide a workable solution.

One-year-old Lucky and his brother, Psycho (below), were among the cats neutered at a recent Mayor's Alliance free spay/neuter clinic.

 

Psycho can thank the PETCO Foundation for funding his neuter surgery.

One-year-old brothers Lucky (top) and Psycho (bottom) were among the cats neutered at a recent Mayor's Alliance free spay/neuter clinic.

"We're finding that most of the people who bring their cats to the clinics have big hearts but limited funds," says Janell. "Many of them have cats they rescued as strays, knowing they wouldn't survive life on the street. Some have endured the unpleasantries of multiple heat cycles, unwanted pregnancies, or spraying in the house, but, having made a lifetime commitment to their cats, simply have tolerated the situation. These are the people we want to reach out to through our clinics, and it appears that we're being successful."

The goal of the program is to stage two spay/neuter clinics each month, with each clinic accommodating 30 cats. So far, all the clinics have been held at the Brooklyn AC&C location in East New York, where the surgeries are performed by veterinarians who are experienced with mobile spay/neuter clinics through their work with AC&C. Mayor's Alliance staff and volunteers provide administrative and logistical support at each clinic.

Janell describes the clinics as spay/neuter and "wellness clinics," because a veterinarian examines every cat prior to the surgery and, if any medical problems are found, appropriate medication or treatment is arranged, if possible. This added level of care could help a financially strapped cat owner acquire timely treatment for a medical condition before it escalates into something more serious, and more difficult and costly to treat.

The free spay/neuter program, which requires that participants make appointments in advance, is promoted through flyers distributed by AC&C, the ASPCA, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), as well as Mayor's Alliance volunteers and its participating organizations. Public response has been tremendous, with each clinic filling to capacity well in advance, resulting in a waiting list for the next scheduled clinic.

For information about upcoming clinics or to learn more about the program, please contact the Mayor's Alliance at info@AnimalAllianceNYC.org.