What the BC SPCA is doing to prevent suffering related to pet overpopulation
British Columbia has an enormous pet overpopulation problem – particularly with cats. BC SPCA's branches take in more than 28,000 animals each year, plus thousands of additional animals are cared for by other rescue groups and animal control agencies throughout the province. The BC SPCA works at a number of levels to help B.C. communities deal with their pet overpopulation issues.
1. Providing spay/neuter services
The BC SPCA sets the example by ensuring all cats, dogs and rabbits adopted from our shelters are spayed and neutered. This ensures the animals we place in the community do not contribute to pet overpopulation.
High Volume, Targeted Spay Neuter Projects
In 2013, we launched the following high volume initiatives to spay and neuter cats:
- Project to fix 1500 cats over two years in Campbell River
- Project to fix 950 cats over two years in Cranbrook
- Project to fix 800 cats in one year in Prince George
- Project to fix 800 cats over two years in Port Alberni
- Project to fix 400 cats over one year in Burns Lake
- Project to fix 300 cats over two years in Port Hardy
BC SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinics
Recognizing the problem of pet overpopulation, the BC SPCA has responded by establishing three veterinary facilities (Vancouver, Kamloops and Prince George). At these facilities, spaying and neutering pets is a priority. Together they sterilize over 8,000 cats, dogs and rabbits annually. At these three facilities the BC SPCA provides either "no charge" or discounted sterilizations for feral cats and discounted prices for owned pets of the financially disadvantaged and First Nations. At two of the spay/neuter clinics (Prince George and Kamloops) the regular price has already been discounted for the general population.
The commitment of over $2 million annually is making a dramatic impact in Prince George and Kamloops, communities with some of the highest numbers of unwanted animals. Animal intake in our Prince George shelter has dropped by over 25 per cent (1,000 fewer dogs and cats) since our clinic opened in 2005. Likewise in Kamloops, where our clinic opened in 2009, the shelter is beginning to experience a decline in animal intake. In Vancouver, the BC SPCA opened a spay/neuter clinic back in the 1970s and was successful in dramatically reducing pet overpopulation of both dogs and cats. Today it is a full-service hospital offering discounted spay/neuter and other veterinary services for people in need, as well as competitively priced veterinary services
The BC SPCA Community Cat Spay/Neuter Grant
The BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter Grant is a grant competition that helps communities across British Columbia address cat overpopulation since 2013. Successful applicants receive between $1,000 and $7,500 of funding for spay/neuter initiatives. In total, almost $72,000 was distributed across British Columbia in 2016. The grants were provided to registered animal charities, municipalities, veterinarians, First Nation’s governments and tribal councils and BC SPCA branches. New funding is available for 2017.
The BC SPCA has partnered with veterinarians in many regions of B.C. to offer discounted spays and neuters for BC SPCA animals. Many individuals also selflessly pledge their own funds to save animal lives by assisting in our spay/neuter efforts. The BC SPCA also partners with municipalities, regional districts and granting organizations to provide low-cost spay neuter programs across the province. Check your local BC SPCA branch for more information on accessing spay/neuter assistance programs or visit our listing of programs available in the province.
2. Helping municipalities take action
To end pet overpopulation local governments must help.
Some B.C. municipalities have established spay-neuter funds for low-income residents. These funds have reduced shelter intake by thousands of animals throughout North America where they have been implemented.
The BC SPCA is urging more municipalities to put these funds in place. You can help us by writing to your local municipal government and asking them to support low-cost spay/neuter in your community.
3. Youth and public education
The BC SPCA is committed to educating the public about the suffering that occurs when there are too many animals and not enough homes.
We offer humane education programs for youth in schools, provide curriculum-linked school units for teachers, visit hundreds of schools each year and support a province-wide Kids Club teaching young people about the responsibilities of caring for animals and their appropriate treatment. See our resources for youth about pet overpopulation.
We issue press releases and public service announcements to the media and distribute posters and brochures province-wide on the benefits of spaying and neutering. The solution starts by ensuring your family’s pets are spayed and neutered. We also have information you can use to convincing others about the benefits of spaying and neutering.
4. Transferring animals with The Drive for Lives Program
While long-term solutions are needed, in the short term our Drive for Lives animal transfer program helps to save lives - one road trip at a time! Every day, animals are being moved around the province to different BC SPCA shelters in order to give them a better chance at being adopted into forever homes.