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Spay, neuter program sees quick results

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After a program was started last year to limit the stray cat population, the county is seeing an effect.

In August, the county started a program that focuses on spaying and neutering stray cats. The county is working with IndyFeral, a nonprofit group that works to reduce the number of stray and feral cats by trapping them, vaccinating them, and spaying or neutering them, before releasing them again

The county has euthanized 183 cats since then. It euthanized 254 cats in that same period the previous year.

The number of cats euthanized in the county over the past three years has decreased by 80 percent. The county euthanized 332 cats last year, compared with more than 1,000 in 2011. The number of dogs euthanized in that same time span has declined 28 percent. The shelter euthanized 86 dogs last year, compared to 97 dogs in 2012 and 120 dogs in 2011.

Even if a stray cat is euthanized, it may have already given birth to other stray cats. By getting more stray cats spayed or neutered, their population will decrease, Animal Control Director Michael Delp said.

“We’re really starting to see the dividends pay off from that program,” he said.

Animal control kennel manager Bethany Fulps and officer manager Cari Klotzsche work to place dogs in rescue organizations across the state. Fulps will evaluate the dogs for what kind of environment would fit the animal best, while Klotzsche will take that information and write a profile, which is put online and emailed to rescue groups.

Both call rescue organizations trying to place dogs into a home. Once an organization agrees to take a dog, volunteers drive the animal there. The state has hundreds of rescue organizations and almost as many other shelters and humane societies looking to find homes for animals.

The shelter has not euthanized a dog due to overcrowding for about four years. About 90 percent of euthanizations are requested by pet owners. The shelter requires paperwork from a veterinarian that proves the dog is terminally ill. Fewer euthanizations also saves the county money, since it costs about $30 for each animal to be put to death, Delp said.

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