Residents are encouraged to sterilize pets | News

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and Cherokee County veterinarians and animal shelters are encouraging residents to get their cats and dogs fixed.

To combat loneliness during the pandemic, many cats and dogs have been adopted, leaving animal shelters with fewer occupants. As people return to work, many pet owners are losing their critters, which has left shelters busier than they have been in recent years.

Feral cat and dog populations are particularly visible these days. Throughout the county, it is not uncommon to see dead dogs on the side of freeways.

“When I moved here, I thought I was going to fix this, and I failed. I was overwhelmed with stray animals. Where I grew up, you wouldn’t find a stray dog ​​or cat “said Bill Elliott, a doctor of veterinary medicine at the associated veterinary clinic. “We’ve won some, but in six months we can be as bad as ever. If we didn’t have the Humane Society, we’d be back where we were.”

Elliott said the majority of dead dogs on roadsides, and especially highways, are intact males. He said male dogs tend to be more aggressive, more likely to stray and less frightened by moving vehicles.

“It causes a lot of problems. They get hit, they get shot and the breeding season is coming,” he said.

He also said the area had an overpopulation of cats. It’s not uncommon to see stray cats in Norris Park or downtown Tahlequah. Homeless cats are likely to die of disease or injury, and their remains should be cleaned up.

He said many of these issues will resolve themselves if responsible pet owners take the time to spay or neuter their pets.

Shaun West, president of the Humane Society of Cherokee County, explained that the cat population can grow rapidly if pets are kept intact.

“It’s important because cats can have four to five kittens five times a year, and dogs can have 6 to 10 puppies three times a year,” he said. “Cats can be found in almost every park and behind every fast food restaurant in town.”

Veterinary clinics don’t like to publish their prices because they are flexible, based on weight and breed. Among the veterinary clinics surveyed, in general, cats cost between $45 and $110 for sterilization or castration.

Dogs have a wider range, starting around $85 to $250.

The Humane Society has a program to help low-income people reduce these prices.

“Our voucher program uses local veterinarians for neutering and neutering,” West said. “The price is determined by the revenue from our neutering and neutering program.”

Those interested in the reduced program can call the Humane Society of Cherokee County at 918-457-7997.

West assures pet owners that neutering is humane and does not endanger animals.

“Sterilization is a relatively simple and quick operation, and they can go home the same day,” he said.

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