Big Fix turns out to be a big success

Published 11:42 pm Saturday, December 2, 2006

Stray and feral cats were treated to a big fix as the Big Fix rig spent its last day in Picayune Saturday.

About 1,300 cats were spayed or neutered during the eight week stay of the Big Fix Rig. The rig was purchased with funds from Pet Co. Foundation and Bosack and Kruger Foundation, Dr. Bob Guy said in a previous interview. Funding for the first year of the program was provided by the 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, Guy said.

During the eight week stay the rig was open and operating for 38 days servicing 1,245 cats as of Friday, said Spay and Neuter Animal Network board member Carla Gerrard. By Saturday the team expected to have about 50 more cats to fix.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“(Saturday) we should hit the 1,300 number,” Gerrard said.

After the rig departs from Picayune it will be on its way to Brandon, just outside of Jackson, for a month long stay and then to Oxford for two more months, Gerrard said. During the month long stay in Brandon the rig will only operate for a week or two but it may make a return sometime in the summer, she said.

Support and response in Pearl River County was exceptional. About 20 to 25 volunteers gave their time to help with delivery and pickup of the cats in alternating shifts and people came from as far as Hattiesburg, Wiggins, Ocean Springs, Perkingston and Pearlington to have their cats spayed or neutered, Gerrard said. However about 85 percent of the cats fixed at the rig during its stay in Picayune were from Pearl River County.

“It’s just such an overwhelming feeling from the support that was given,” Gerrard said.

Spaying and neutering were combined with rabies vaccinations to help the feral and stray cat population stay under control. If there were any other medical ailments found by the team they would do their best to accommodate the animals. Gerrard said the most common ailment found in the cats was upper respiratory infections. Most of the time the cats could be treated with antibiotics so Gerrard recommended that the animals be taken to a vet for treatment.

“This is prevalent around here but we just have to deal with it,” Gerrard said.

More minor problems such as ear mites were treated on site but a recommendation was still given to see a local vet for further treatment, she said.

Future programs are in the works to keep the feral and stray cat population under control such as a spay blitz that Gerrard said she is working on getting funding for. When and where that program might take place is still undetermined.

“We want to be the first county in southern Mississippi to have their pet population under control,” Gerrard said.

Gerrard estimates it will take about three years to accomplish that goal. If the program is established and is successful she estimates that they could fix about 2,000 to 4,000 pets a year while running about eight days a month.