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Spay and neuter pets

Some people in Pearl River County may have found furry friends under their Christmas tree this year. Along with having someone new to love and cuddle, there are basic needs a new pet requires including nourishment, shelter, vaccinations and security.
However, after new owners meet the basic needs, there is one other option that officials with the Pearl River County SPCA said should be considered, spaying and neutering.
According to humanesociety.org, the decision to spay and neuter pets has many benefits including a reduction in the number of homeless pets euthanized, improving pet health, reducing unruly behavior and savings the on cost of pet care.
The website states that more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in animal shelters each year. The majority of these animals are the offspring of family pets, not homeless animals.
Carla Gerard is the manager of the Pearl River County SPCA’s spay and neuter program and said since the inception of this program, there has been a 50 percent decrease in the number of animals euthanized within the county.
“It’s healthier for the animals,” Gerard said. “The program began in 2007 and since then, more than 24,000 animals have been spayed or neutered. My goal is to reach 25,000 in the year 2015.”
Gerard also manages the trap, neuter and release program for feral animals.
According to Gerard, all veterinarians in the county are on board with her program. The SPCA offers coupons to help offset the cost of the procedure.
“The coupon serves as co-payment,” Gerard said. “We pay the difference between what the veterinarian charges. It’s low cost quality care.”
During this time of year, Gerard kicks off what she calls the “Beat the Heat” campaign. Animals generally go into heat as early as February, Gerard said, so it’s important to get the animals spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Gerard said she will not accept animals younger than four months old into the program.
“Their little systems are not totally developed before four months,” Gerard said. “I would rather not take the risk.”
According to Gerard, there has been a .0003 percent incident rate of complications during the procedures. The national average is one percent.
Interested pet owners can contact Gerard at 1-866-989-7729 for more information about spay and neuter coupons. The cost is $60 for cats and $80 for dogs and includes a rabies shot, Gerard said.
“This program is about saving lives,” Gerard said. “My mantra is ‘stop abuse and neglect.’ The only way to stop it is with spaying and neutering.”
Each pet adopted from the Pearl River County SPCA is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed and micro chipped, Gerard said. Those services are included in the adoption fee.
According to a previous Item article, the Pearl River County SPCA is offering a special on adopted cats through Jan. 1. One-hundred dollar kittens can be adopted for $75, and adult cats are marked down to $50 or less, the article states.
The PRCSPCA is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 1700 Palestine, Rd., Picayune. Contact shelter staff by phone at 601-798-8000.
For more information about the PRCSPCA, visit their website at www.prcspca.org and Facebook at Pearl River County SPCA.