SpayAid PEI may have to shut down if it can't attract more members to help run the program and raise funds, says the organization's president.
The low-cost spay-neuter program has been helping pet owners cover the costs of surgery and vaccinations for seven years.
It costs about $300 to spay or neuter an animal — the Atlantic Vet College covers one-third of the cost, while SpayAid and the pet owner split the other two-thirds. SpayAid also has the same arrangement with nine vet clinics throughout the province.
But SpayAid president Joy Tremblay said the program is in danger of shutting down.
It's expensive to run — vet fees alone run between $30,000 to $40,000 per year — plus she and the handful of volunteers are feeling over-worked.
She said many Island pet owners would lose out if SpayAid was forced to shut down.
"They can't afford this service without assistance," she said.
"Even though you can afford to take a little starving cat on your front porch and buy some cheap kibble, and keep him going, you just can't afford to neuter him to stop him fighting, roaming and spraying or if it's a female — suddenly you could have a bunch of kittens that you can't afford, so spay-neuter is so important."
'You're helping pets'
When SpayAid first started, Tremblay said, it might have helped as many as 40 animals. This past year, it subsidized veterinary costs for more than 320 pets.
"Just hearing the happiness, the relief in people's voices knowing that they get to keep their beloved pet, knowing that this is the burden that they don't have to bear alone, that they get a little help," she said.
"You're helping the pets, and you're preventing animals from being dumped and being euthanized."
Tremblay hopes new members will come out to the annual meeting on Feb 21 at the Sobeys on Allen Street in Charlottetown.