77.8 F
Cruz Bay
Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Humane Society Spay Day activity at Port of Sale Mall had hit a lull. Only 40 certificates for spaying or neutering pets had been given out.
But then Jimmy came in and picked up 14 certificates for his girlfriend's cats, though he turned down project organizer Lisa Walker's suggestion to take a certificate for his Rottweilers.
After that, business picked up, and by 6 p.m. 507 certificates had been given out. Walker said last year saw about 300 certificates. At the time, though, she was delighted, "We'd only anticipated maybe 100 — we simply didn't know what to expect."
"Now, I hope people will follow through on bringing the certificates to the vets," Walker said. Some people pick up the certificates, she said, and then attempt to catch feral pets and bring them in, not always an easy task. She said between herself and two friends, it took them a year and a half to catch a female cat at Magens Bay who had three litters during that time.
This year's project "2001; a Spay Odyssey," is the second spay-and-neutering program on St. Thomas. Applicants are asked to fill out a simple form, after which they are given a certificate to take to any one of the island's four veterinarians. If the veterinarian deems the animal safe for surgery, that's all there is to it.
The program costs nothing to the pet owners. It is funded by the society from a special bequest left by former island resident Ethel Brinkerhoff, and by the veterinarians who provide services at minimum cost to the shelter.
Along with other society volunteers including Tara Hinton, Linda Witkop, Lorraine Mason and veteran shelter worker, Delsa Thomas, Walker was taking applications and dispensing information to any and all takers. "Get your pet fixed for free," she said to a couple teenage boys passing by. They just grinned and kept walking. "You've got to try," Walker said, "You just never know."
She knows something, though. The shelter has had to euthanize far fewer pets since last year's program, and Hubert Brumant, shelter manager, said there is also an appreciable decrease in the number of puppies and kittens left at dumpsters.
According to a pamphlet put out by the Humane Society and the Interfaith Coalition of St. Thomas-St. John Inc., in a seven-year period one unaltered female and male dog can produce 4,372 births. And that's nothing compared to the feline world, whose gestation period is shorter. The booklet states that within seven years, two unaltered cats, plus all their unaltered kittens' kittens, can be responsible for 420,715 births. Now, multiply Jimmy's girlfriends's 14 cats' potential kittens' litters seven times, and … well, let's hope we don't have to.

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