SHERIDAN — Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue is hosting a free spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats Sunday and Monday at Sheridan County Fairgrounds.
“This program is for people who truly cannot afford to spay or neuter their pets,” said rescue director Elaine Kristiansen. “It is for those who are struggling financially. If they (pet owners) can afford it, they really need to take them to their local veterinarian. Our program is for those who cannot.”
Kristiansen said there is still some space available for additional animals and interested pet owners should contact the organization at 461-9555 to make an appointment. Appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Any cat, including feral or “barn” cats, will be accepted, as well as dogs less than 20 pounds.
Kristiansen said they are hoping that by the end of the clinic, 10 dogs and 180 cats will have been spayed or neutered. In addition to spaying and neutering, the veterinarian and attending technicians will give rabies and distemper vaccinations to each animal.
“We are really trying to reach out to ranchers in the county,” said Kristiansen, noting that many people release their unwanted cats in rural areas hoping they will make their way to a home and the cats often end up living in ranchers’ outbuildings. “They get a lot of cats dumped on them that are not spayed or neutered and those cats will be reproducing. The rancher will end up with more than they can care for. When they are not spayed or neutered they start reproducing really quick because a female cat can have up to three litters a year. So, we are ending up with a pet overpopulation problem not just in the City of Sheridan but Sheridan County.”
The organization has received several grants to help pay for the cost of the surgeries and vaccinations, including from Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Organization, PetSmart Charities and Fremont Motors and the Toyota Dealer Match Foundation. They are also hosting a fundraiser at The Black Tooth Brewing Company Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
In addition to the clinic for pet owners, Kristiansen and other volunteers will be trapping feral and stray cats at Westpark Mobile Home Park. She said approximately 35 cats live there and are being fed by local residents.
The animals will be trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to the area when they are recovered.
“Some of them may already be fixed, but we will be trapping all of them that we can,” said Kristiansen. “We’ll have ongoing trapping all day Sunday and as we trap them we’ll take them to the fairgrounds to get them spayed or neutered.”
“We’ve actually been very successful,” she continued. “We went to Woodland Park Village in September 2011 and trapped 71 cats and spayed and neutered and vaccinated all of them. I think they’ve had six kittens born since then and we have trapped them, socialized them, spayed or neutered them and found them homes.”
Kristiansen said she realizes not all residents living near a feral cat colony want cats on their property and she has an educational brochure that can help homeowners keep unwanted cats off their property. She will distribute the brochure to Westpark residents and anyone who also wants a copy of the brochure can contact the rescue to request one.