Did you know that City of Pittsburgh residents can receive up to five cat or dog spays and neuters—absolutely free—through the City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program?
By BERNADETTE KAZMARSKI
Free Cat or Dog Spay/Neuter Program for City of Pittsburgh Residents
Did you know that City of Pittsburgh residents can receive up to five cat or dog spays and neuters—absolutely free—through the City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program? In February 2012 Pittsburgh’s City Council approved a program sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris that provides vouchers for up to five pets per household to Pittsburgh residents (the city has a limit of five pets per residence). The bill allocated $170,000 toward the program, yet the city spends much more than that in combined animal control costs.
“The numbers of animals we were killing was very sad, I’d rather not bring them into the world if that’s what would happen,” said Harris. “What we were paying per animal to trap and surrender them to a shelter was as much if not more than it cost to spay or neuter them.”
It took several years to determine what would be the best way to manage the situation and Harris visited other cities and worked with the groups who were planning to make Pittsburgh a no-kill city. “We are the country’s most livable city—for our people,” Harris said, “we should be for our animals too.”
Council decided that spaying and neutering pets of city residents will result in reduced costs immediately and into the future. Stray and feral cats maintained outdoors are also included in the program if they are within city limits.
The numbers of cats and dogs picked up by the city’s Animal Care and Control—the name change was part of the plan—has decreased each year since the program began. In 2011, 826 dogs and 1,039 cats were brought in; in 2012, 700 dogs and 1,026 cats; in 2013, 585 dogs and 791 cats. The Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends participate in the program as surgery providers. In 2012 they provided surgery for 171 cats and 188 dogs; in 2013, 393 cats and 244 dogs.
How the program works
This program is available all year round. Pet owners apply by completing an application for each cat or dog, and can also apply for feral cats if the colony is in the City of Pittsburgh. Pet owners and/or caregivers must prove city residence and vaccination records for their pets prior to surgery. Applicants will be contacted with appointment place, date and time, and pre- and post-surgery instructions. Caretakers may also purchase a microchip for a pet at the time of surgery for $3.00. Read more about it, and if you are a City of Pittsburgh resident you can also download an application here: http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/animalcontrol/spay_neuter.htm.
For other free or low-cost spay and neuter programs in the Pittsburgh area and surrounding area on page 14 of the June 2014 issue of PetConnections.