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Pets can be fixed for $5 in the city of Huntsville

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The city of Huntsville is advocating for pet owners to spay and neuter their pets within the next few months. Huntsville Animal Services are seeking to fix the upcoming overpopulation of kittens. More stray kittens find themselves in the animal shelter or roaming the city which leads to overpopulation.

One female cat and her offspring can potentially create over 420,000 kittens within seven years. One female dog and her offspring can potentially create over 96,000 puppies within seven years according to Metro Animal Shelter.

Certain dog breeds can become pregnant as early as six months. Cats can become pregnant within four months of age and spaying and neutering them has multiple benefits. Male cats can reduce testicular cancer and female cats can reduce uterine infections and breast cancer through the process. Allowing a cat to have at least one litter offers no additional health benefits.

Stefany McBride is the animal care supervisor for the City of Huntsville. She explains the timeline for which a pet can be serviced.

“We recommend cats get spayed or neutered around two pounds which is about eight weeks of age. Puppies we usually spay and neuter them probably between eight and 10 weeks of age,” McBride said.

To address this problem, there are multiple options a pet owner can take within the spay and neutering process.

According to McBride, there are several options to qualify for the program in Huntsville.

“You pay the $5 and we have a certain amount of vets that contract with us where you can go and get that done and they get spayed and neutered and their rabies shot. Then if you live in Madison County, their program is called SNAP,” McBride said.

Pet owners with a low income have access to the program and can contact participating veterinarian offices directly. The recovery time for the procedure is very quick.

“The cat [and dog] neuters are really quick and easy… they all get pain injections while they're here, antibiotics, if needed,” McBride said. “Animals have a tendency not to show a lot of pain like an adult, if we had some kind of procedure we would be laid in the bed for weeks. Most of our cats and kittens are up and at it and you can't even tell they even had any kind of surgery. So, they all do really well after surgery.”

Spaying and neutering a pet make them less likely to roam. However, as a prevention tip it is recommended to keep a pet indoors if it hasn’t been spayed or neutered. Animals are more likely to get hurt by jumping in front of cars or by not being in adequate shelter during storms when they wander outside. There’s an increased possibility of animals getting pregnant while wandering outside. They are also less likely to mark territory by spraying urine around the house.

People who don’t have pets but witness many free roaming animals in their area can still use Huntsville Animal Services through the Trap, Neuter, and Release program. Individuals can trap the cat or rent a trap from the Huntsville Animal Services to catch the cat.

“They can bring those in, and we'll spay and neuter those cats for free. After, they'll get their rabies shot and we tip their left ear. So, their left ear has a little cut while they are sedated in surgery. And that's kind of a universal code for feral cats. That means they're spayed and neutered,” McBride said.

After the surgery the cats are released back to the area where they were trapped.

“They're good outside cats for keeping rodents down and a lot of people just enjoy having them around and just care for them in their area,” McBride said.

To make an appointment, citizens can call Apollo Animal Hospital at 256-881-4862, Flint River Animal Hospital at 256-852-3300, Huntsville Animal Clinic at 256-534-5581, North Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic at 256-489-0418 or make an appointment online here.

Jolencia Jones is a graduate assistant at Alabama Public Radio. She joined APR in 2022. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a bachelor's degree in public relations. Over the past year, Jolencia has written a range of stories covering events throughout the state. When she's not working at APR, she's writing for 1956 Magazine and The Crimson White.

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