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Low cost spaying and neutering offered

In response to the high population of cats in the six coastal counties since Hurricane Katrina, numerous organizations have put together a low cost program to “fix” the problem.

Cat spaying and neutering will be offered in a specially built facility called the Big Fix Rig currently parked next to City Rexall on South Main Street in Picayune.

Dr. Bob Guy said the rig was built in part with funds from Pet Co. Foundation and Bosack and Kruger Foundation. Other organizations who provided funding for the first year of the program are International Friends of Animals Worldwide, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, United States Humane Society, Pet Smart Charities and United Animal Nations.

The focus of the effort will be on feral cats, or homeless cats, that live in big groups, and those in animal shelters, Guy said. The program also is available to provide assistance to families with low income, he said.

“We’ll be spaying and neutering cats at an extremely low cost,” Guy said.

Low income families can bring their cats in to be fixed at the cost of $5 for males and $10 for females, said Spay and Neuter Animal Network board member Carla Gerrard. There also will be discounts on multiple cats brought in at the same time such as feral cat communities and for those in shelters, she said. In addition, rabies shots will be given to animals who are not already vaccinated, she said.

The program is already underway and will be available to the public in the Picayune area until early December, Guy said. All services will be offered by appointment only, no walk-ins accepted, Gerrard said. Appointments can be made by calling 1-866-901-7729. Staff will accept the animals between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. the day of the appointment.

“These folks will not be interrupted during operation time,” Gerrard said.

At the end of the day, between 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., the animals will be ready for pickup, Gerrard said,

Local veterinarians will be assisting in the work to be done on the rig. Local veterinarians also will provide discount operations on dogs, but only at each vet’s office, not on the rig, Guy said. Those veterinarians helping in the effort include Ann Borgen of McNeill, Heath Stroupe of Poplarville, Dean Stringfellow, Martin Berry, Blythe Odom and Jason Leonard all of Picayune, Jackie Broome of Waveland and Melanie Branton of Meadville. Vouchers are required for discount operations performed on dogs and can be obtained by calling the same number, Guy said.

Even though the rig is stationed in Picayune, the volunteers will accept cats from all of Pearl River and surrounding counties, Gerrard said.

Recognition the program has received has prompted efforts to make the program long term through the Shelter Outreach Program, Guy said. .

Gerrard said she hopes the program is able to fix about 1,400 animals before the end of the rig’s two-month stay in Picayune.