Spay and neuter awareness: Local shelter sees rise in live releases

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Gracie is about 5-years old.  She is available for adoption at the Picayune Animal Shelter. A complete listing of available furry pals can be found at their website at Photo by Cassandra Favre

Gracie is about 5-years old. She is available for adoption at the Picayune Animal Shelter. A complete listing of available furry pals can be found at their website at
Photo by Cassandra Favre

At the end of every “Price is Right” television episode, long-time host Bob Barker urged viewers to spay and neuter their animals.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the benefits of spaying and neutering animals include a reduction in the number of euthanized pets, improvements in pet health, a reduction of unruly behavior and savings on the cost of pet care.
The month of February is spay and neuter awareness month and Feb. 26 is World Spay Day.
According to, this event began in 1995 and was created by the Doris Day Animal League to promote awareness of the dangers of pet overpopulation.
In 2007, Carla Gerard initiated the Pearl River County SPCA’s spay and neuter program. As a result of this program, Picayune Animal Shelter Director and PRCSPCA vice-president Judy Wheaton said numbers across the board are down.
“Carla’s program is 95 percent of the reason our canine intake numbers went from 3,800 in 2007 to 1,800 in 2013,” Wheaton said. “Our feline intake dropped from 2,100 to 1,400 during that same time frame.”
The number of live releases for dogs increased from 30 to 55 percent and from 22 to 31 percent for cats from 2007 to 2013, Wheaton said. Overall, the live release rate jumped from 29 to 45 percent, due to reduced intake numbers. The numbers of animals euthanized in 2007 was 4,200; in 2013 that number was down to 1,700, Wheaton said.
Wheaton said that, once a shelter reaches between an 80 to 90 percent live release rate then they will be designated as a no-kill shelter.
“We are determined to be a no-kill shelter,” Wheaton said. “With the community’s help in getting animals spayed and neutered, everyone can help us get there.”
In a previous Item story, Gerard said that since 2007 more than 25,000 animals have been spayed or neutered through her program. 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 a co-payment,” Gerard said in the previous story. “We pay the difference between what the veterinarian charges. It’s low cost quality care.”
Animals younger than four months are not accepted into the program, Gerard said in the story.
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.
The shelter also manages a spay, neuter and release program.
According to cat room manager, Debbie Borecki, this program is dedicated to the spaying and neutering community stray cats.
“If someone is willing to take care of this stray animal, bring it to us and we will spay and neuter it for you at no cost,” Borecki said. “It doesn’t matter if you want to keep them in your home and let them run free, it’s important to prevent them from reproducing.”
The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 1700 Palestine Rd. Contact shelter staff by phone at 601-798-8000.
Adoption fees for dogs range from $75 to $150, depending on age and breed, Wheaton said. Cats can be adopted for $25 to $125, also depending on age and breed.
Adopted animals leave the shelter with vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchip and registration, 30-day health insurance and a 30-day return policy, Wheaton said.
For more information about PRCSPCA and to view animals available for adoption, visit their website at and Facebook at Pearl River County SPCA.

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