The Animal Welfare Society/Cleo Fund and the Community Spay-Neuter Clinic will team up again to offer substantially subsidized surgery rates to income-qualified cat owners in Lincoln County on Jan. 20.

To reserve a space call the clinic at 721-8395.

On Dec. 22, income-qualified cat owners from Lincoln County dropped off 37 cats at the Lincoln County Humane Society in Edgecomb, where they were picked up by the CSNC transport van. From there they were transported to the clinic in Topsham. By the time the cats were returned to their owners that evening they had been spayed or neutered and given a rabies immunization and health exam. Cost was $10 per cat.

Since opening in 2010, the Community Spay-Neuter Clinic has sterilized more than 20,000 dogs and cats. According to Dr. Elizabeth Stone, chief veterinarian at the clinic, her mission is to reduce pet homelessness and euthanasia. The Clinic, says Stone, “serves low-income families who cannot otherwise afford this service. Most people find the cost of this procedure a barrier. They know it is the right thing to do, and they know it will help with behavioral issues, but the cost is a major concern.”

The Cleo Fund is a statewide spay/neuter program located at the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk. Like the Community Spay-Neuter Clinic, its major goal is to lower shelter intake numbers and prevent animal cruelty through spay/neuter. It assists income-qualified Mainers pay for spay/neuter services by teaming with local veterinary practices and providing vouchers for use at those practices. The client is asked to contribute a modest co-pay toward the cost of surgery, the veterinary clinic is asked to discount their costs and the Cleo Fund pays the difference.

According to Sharon Secovich, Cleo Fund manager, the Fund was the first organization in Maine to recognize spay/neuter as a means of combating animal cruelty and euthanasia. Since 1971 the Fund has facilitated the spaying/neutering of more than 45,000 cats and dogs. “People love their pets but often just need a little help with some of the costs of owning a pet. We want to keep pets in their home,” said Secovich.

Both Stone and Secovich were a little surprised at how quickly all available surgery slots were filled for the December event. Because of the success, the partners decided to collaborate again to try to get 30 more cats spayed or neutered in Lincoln County. There are currently no additional collaborations planned but both agree that they will probably work together again in the near future.

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