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Jul-11-2011 12:27printcommentsVideo

The Willamette Humane Society Spay and Neuter Clinic is Purrrrr-fect

Getting fixed makes for a long and happy life

Willamette Humane Shelter
Photos and video by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - The most important reason to spay or neuter your pet is that it will literally save lives. That is the message heard loud and clear when one enters the Willamette Humane Society's Spay and Neuter clinic in Salem.

A little known fact to most Americans is that pet overpopulation is a serious problem, reaching a crisis point in our country. Experts say that for every litter of puppies or kittens born, another must be euthanized because there aren't enough homes for them all.

The Willamette Humane Society receives more than 10,000 animals a year and works to save as many as possible through adoption and rescue organizations but for some there is simply no where to place them.

"Only by spaying and neutering our companion animals will we get a handle on pet overpopulation and eliminate the need to euthanize adoptable pets," explains Kara Kuh, Communications Specialist for the Willamette Humane Society.

The Willamette Humane Society Spay & Neuter Clinic opened in January of 2010, after more than four years of community fundraising, filling a very necessary niche for the area. The clinic, a member of the National Spay/Neuter Response Team (NSNRT), provides affordable sterilization services for cats and dogs in a progressive effort toward ending shelter overpopulation.

"We spay & neuter all adoptable pets in our clinic before they go home and offer quality, low-cost services to partner organizations as well as to the community for their cats and dogs," said Kara Kuh.

"The clinic spays or neuters up to 25 animals per day, which is approximately 7,000 cats and dogs per year. We're really hoping this will help end shelter overpopulation and also offer a valuable service to our community pet owners."

Spaying and neutering also is known to have other benefits for animals which include improved behavior (less spraying, less aggressive behavior, yowling (cats)), and reduced risk for certain types of cancer.

At the Willamette Humane Society clinic, pet owners can afford to be responsible.

"The reason we can offer the lowest surgery rates in the community is that we are a nonprofit and we are focused solely on spay/neuter surgeries here, so our low base rates are available to anybody, regardless of geography or income," Kuh added.

"Everyone is eligible to utilize the clinic, and pets can also receive other medical services such as vaccinations and microchips at the time of surgery for an additional cost."

Overpopulation is an increasingly, growing problem.

"Especially with cats, we really need to get a handle on the overpopulation problem, and it’s proven that low cost spay and neuter services are really the key to ending shelter overpopulation," Kuh said.

Feral cats live outside and are not well-socialized to humans, sometimes called alley cats, or wild cats. Many people feed stray cats which aren't so wild, but know little about them apart from the fact that they are strays. The Willamette Humane Society believes those lonely cats deserve healthy lives, and developed the special Feral Cat Package for just such a situation.

Many kittens that end up in shelters came from feral mothers, and those numbers are expected to be reduced through this innovative program, called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Unmanaged feral cat colonies cause many problems, and it has long been a concern that needed special attention.

Trap-Neuter-Return is a very humane and effective method to put an end to the severe feral cat overpopulation crisis, and the cost is reasonable for the good Samaritan helping out the cat.

All surgeries are performed by licensed veterinarians, and animals are attended to before and after surgery by trained vet assistants and licensed veterinary technicians. Pain medications are provided to each patient before and after surgery.

"It's a great honor to work here at the Humane Society just because I'm a great believer in helping with pet overpopulation," said Beth Palmer, Veterinary Technician. "I have seen a big change in the community, the word is getting out there that the spay and neuter clinic is here. People are very excited that we’re here, and we're helping."

"This is a very efficient, wonderful operation we have here and all the animals are well cared for, and well attended to," Kuh said.

"All of our fees and services are listed our website, and you can even make an appointment online at" Tours are offered every Friday.

For more information about spaying, neutering, and the importance of regular veterinary care for your pet, see the WHS one-page handout.

"If you have questions, call us here at the Willamette Humane Society anytime Monday through Friday at 503-480-7729," Kuh added.

"We are here to help."

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

anonymous July 17, 2011 1:24 am (Pacific time)

Interesting article on Al Jaz. re. the moral implications of how we treat animals.

TNR bad idea July 16, 2011 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

Google wildlife society cat package if link does not show.

Editor: I have hesitated at making this link live, I opened it and the first thing I see is a caption for a story titled. "Tasers as a Wildlife Management Tool".  Tasers on wildlife?  Can you not hear the conflict in those words?  I hate the SOB in Arizona who created that deadly 'tool' cops use to torture and kill people with.  I'm on the record about it too and I hope Steve Tuttle reads this in his RSS feed 

if there is one company that I would like to see fall on its face right behind Monsanto, it is Taser is it, but then militant police items are guaranteed a rich business future in a corrupt society like this one.  I'm sure the person had a good reason for sending this, I am not able to adequately decipher the mesage TNR bad idea but I hope it is an extension of the point I am making.  

gp July 16, 2011 7:06 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for this article Bonnie. Here in Patagonia a few people singly and some organized into small groups do what they can for the abandoned animal problem. This bottom up approach adopted by poor communities without the money for an American Humane Society style operation could be adopted also in the US to save further lives. Our system is simple. When we see abandoned animals we take care of them. The first step is that most people don't buy pedigree dogs and cats but adopt abandoned animals. Others like my neighbor Cecilia and Senora Ruiz in the adjoining barrio shelter and neuter animals until they can find them a home via the internet, posters at feed stores and the like. Another group brings abandoned animals to the central plaza on Saturdays and sits with them for several hours. The community radio advertises these small individual projects and there are several vets who give cut rate neutering to individuals who take care of the cast off animals. I got involved several years ago when a friend in Oregon sent me a few bucks to help with the vet bills of the homeless animals. So far Senor Zeta and I have located homes for nearly twenty animals by taking care of the ones we encounter. Most are gone within a week, one very ill dog stayed four months but she was the exception. One cute pup was with us less than an hour. I relate this story because I feel very strongly that Americans need to be assuming personal responsibility for animal protection as the resources that maintained the SPCA seem to be drying up with these animal shelters closing down all over the country. One in particular that I know about is the Animal shelter in Newport which closed last December as I recollect. One last word on pets. Breeding cats and dogs for fun or profit is really an obscenity considering the number of abandoned animals. Think about that when you are considering a fancy pedigreed animal.

Keizer Mom July 11, 2011 4:03 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for letting us know about this, we did not know where to go and the need exists, now we know, thanks Salem-News!

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.