2007-02-28 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

Sequoia, Lab/Terrier, shown at left Sequoia, Lab/Terrier, shown at left February 27th marked the 14th annual Spay Day USA, a national campaign to end needless animal overpopulation suffering... The cat numbers are staggering. Recent US estimates count 77 million pet cats with another 70-100 million homeless ones.

Hear ye! Hear ye! Calling all cat caretakers and feral feeders! Help is on the way. Two upcoming local events that capture the spirit of Spay Day USA are on the horizon:

+Free Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Day- On Sunday March 11th Last Hope Animal Rescue is sponsoring a free surgery clinic at Basic Pet Care, 642 Route 109, Lindenhurst. Drop off is between 9-10 AM and pick up between 2-3 PM. All cats must be ferals. Appointments are necessary- call 516-334-6069 or 631- 205-5069. The cats are supposed to be in humane traps but callers may ask about bringing special circumstance felines in carriers. All cats will be vaccinated for rabies and feline distemper. Ear tipping will be done on those to be returned to outdoor colonies.

Dr. Laura Gay Senk has dedicated herself to spaying, neutering and protecting feral cats; our furry shadow citizens, at her own all feline practice in Farmingdale and at satellite surgical sites. She will lead the team of volunteer veterinarians on 3/11. Three doctors were scheduled, but at the moment that remains uncertain. To reach her ambitious goal of altering 70 cats in one day, more doctors are needed. Any volunteers? Please call.

right, right, Veterinary pharmaceutical companies are donating vaccines, supplies and syringes. Dr. Peter Lugten is graciously lending his hospital, and his Basic Pet Care staff plus other vet techs will be assisting during the pre-op, surgeries and recovery care.

Dr. Senk has a streamlined, efficient system for her "spayathons". A team of non-medical volunteers are helping with registration, paperwork, equipment cleansing, and labeling the cats in the traps so the right cats go back to the right people. I've signed up to be a "Runner" who brings traps to the back of the hospital after sign-in, and keeps the sexes straight, as best as can be done. Male castrations are much faster than female spays.

The only fee is an optional $20 combo blood test for feline leukemia and AIDS (FeLV/FIV). There are varying schools of thought about testing asymptomatic ferals, and for sound philosophical and medical reasons, many reputable groups like Alley Cat Allies and Neighborhood Cats do not regularly test Trap Neuter Release (TNR) cats. It's an individual choice.

The HSUS says that a pair of breeding cats and their offspring can exponentially produce -over 400,000 cats in 7 years. Too many companion animals are competing for too few homes. Living creatures have become throwaway items in our society. Millions are given up to shelters or left to die If we truly love animals, we should all pitch in to stop the terrible surplus problem. Please spread the word about this free feral service on 3/11, and call for an appointment before all surgery slots are full. Be part of the solution by participating in this Operation Catsnip. (Just love that catchy name coined by North Carolina-based animal welfare folks.) +TNR Workshop at C.W.Post- On April 20-21, the HSUS (Humane Society of the US) is sponsoring a 2 day workshop to implement a communitywide Trap Neuter Return program for feral cats. Improving the lives of ferals and reducing their numbers require a group effort of feral cat organizations, veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups, municipal and public health officials, wildlife advocates, caretakers, and the public.

The workshop instructor is Bryan Kortis, director of Neighborhood Cats in NYC. He is a wonderful choice as the expert moderator. I was privileged to judge his organization's TNR handbook in the Cat Writers Association competition in 2005. It is a most comprehensive and user- friendly source book on all aspects of TNR.

Animal Lovers League of Glen Cove is co-hosting the event. Registration (by 3/20) is $15 for 1 day; $20 for both (includes lunch and course materials). Call 516-676-5913; or contact Nancy Peterson of the HSUS at npeterson@hsus.org or 301-258- 3129.Another option- bug me at the Post for a registration form. This workshop will be a huge success if it reaches community leaders as well as the dedicated cat caretakers.

Adoptable cats and dogs are waiting at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677- 5784) Miller Pl., Syosset. All pets will be spayed and neutered as part of the shelter's bargain fee. "Strawberry" #0096" is a cute vocal female kitten about 5 months old while "Sequoia" # 0062 is a young female Lab/Terrier. This medium-sized honey is a lovely shade of mahogany. See more photos on the shelter's Petfinder site.

+Dogs: "Marmaduke" #1172- the big-boned Shepherd mix pup; "Boise"- #0011- playful female Lab mix. +Cats: "Kitchka" #1182- the declawed black/ white beauty; "Dude" & "Chips"- tabbies surrendered by the same former owner.

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