Sydney spay and neuter clinic opens

A new spay and neuter clinic in Cape Breton has been flooded with calls since opening this week at the Cape Breton branch of the SPCA.

Only the second spay and neuter clinic in Nova Scotia

This little fella keeps an eye on a visitor at the Cape Breton SPCA. (Wendy Martin)

A new spay and neuter clinic in Cape Breton has been flooded with calls since opening this week at the Cape Breton branch of the SPCA.

It's intended for people on low income, who otherwise can't afford the operations.

The procedures typically cost between $200 and $400.

SPCA Cape Breton manager Monty Crawley said the island has some of the highest numbers in the province of abandoned or unwanted pets.

"I do believe a lot of it is, some people generally can't afford to spay or neuter their pets," said Crawley.

"It's not to say that they're bad pet owners. I would just say that it comes at a cost. What this hospital is going to do for low income Cape Bretoners, is solve that issue for them."

A similar clinic opened at the SPCA in Dartmouth in 2013.

The clinic in Cape Breton is only the second in the province and has its own full-time veterinarian.

It will also offer services for local non-profit groups that tend to homeless and unwanted animals, such as the Feral and Abandoned Cat Society.

20,000 feral and stray cats

Volunteers with that group trap, neuter and release wild and feral cats, with the hopes of eventually reducing the large number of feral colonies in the area.

It's believed there are as many as 20,000 feral and stray cats in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality alone.

"The SPCA's new lost-cost spay-neuter clinic, it's the final piece of the puzzle," said Carmen Dunn, the president of the FAACS. "Now the cat overpopulation issue is being addressed from all angles."

For the first time in the Sydney shelter's history, every animal that is put up for adoption will be spayed or neutered.

Crawley says that will make it more attractive and convenient for people who want to adopt.

The clinic was built last year, with the help of a large grant from Pet Smart Charities. The group provided $181,000 to help with construction and equipment.

There's an open house at the facility on March 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 401 East Broadway, at the Cape Branch of the SPCA.

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