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Impactful grant helps keeps feline population down in Comox Valley

COMOX, B.C. – It was a life-saving donation for Comox Valley’s feline population.

According to the BC SPCA website, more than 600 cats have been spayed and neutered in the town of Comox and City of Courtenay thanks to a $78,385 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada.

The results are already visible.

So far this year, only one litter of stray kittens has come into the care of the BC SPCA Comox Valley branch and no kittens have been surrendered.

“We are seeing first hand the impact of this program in our branch,” noted BC SPCA Comox Valley branch manager Emily Priestley.

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In 2017, the number of kittens coming in from the area the branch serves dropped 47 per cent compared to the year before the program started.

The overall intake cats and kittens has gone down 22 per cent during this time.

“Taking into account our intake this year to date and the knowledge that the majority of the surgeries of the program happened in the last eight months, we are expecting this to decrease further to a minimum of 40 per cent for 2018,” Priestley said.

“And it’s more than just numbers. Before the grant was in place the branch was overwhelmed with kitten intake, struggling to provide what was needed for litters and limited by our number of foster homes. We relied on the internal BC SPCA Drives for Lives transfer program to manage the intake.”

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Priestley says the shelter has significantly reduced the number of transfers out of the branch, and has instead become a branch with the resources and space to take in kittens from other areas of the province that are still dealing with high intake.

“It’s incredible the success we have seen in such a short amount of time,” she said, “and we have heard from many cat guardians in the community who have been immensely grateful for this program.”

To maintain this success, Priestley says the BC SPCA continues to urge all residents to not only have their own cats spayed and neutered, but to also take action to ensure that all stray and feral cats in their community are fixed, as well.

The BC SPCA thanked PetSmart Charities of Canada, Courtenay Veterinary Clinic, Comox Valley Animal Hospital, Shamrock Veterinary Clinic, Van Isle Veterinary Hospital and the Goat FM for their support and participation in making this program a success.

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