Haywood Spay/Neuter receives $18K grant from PetSmart

Haywood Spay/Neuter received $18,000 from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, to help fund its trap-neuter-return (TNR) program in Haywood County.

With the help of this donation, the organization aims to spay and neuter 500 community cats — or unowned, free-roaming cats — in the area, a proactive approach to reducing the overpopulation of cats by preventing unplanned litters. In addition, each community cat will receive a rabies and distemper vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease.

“We are delighted that we can continue our trap-neuter-return program with the help of this PetSmart Charities grant,” said Connie Hewitt, president of Haywood Spay/Neuter. “Since 2009, we have fixed over 5,336 community cats in Haywood County. This grant will cover the costs so people who are feeding community cats will be able to call on us for assistance to keep colonies in control.”

A community cat is one that freely roams the county and is likely being fed by kindhearted individuals, but essentially belongs to no one. In conjunction with regular low-cost spay/neuter program for cats over the years, the county shelter intake of cats dropped from 1,811 to 692.

Warmer weather is encouraging production of new litters. Kittens can come into heat at 4 months old. Therefore, it is best to fix cats by 4 months to prevent unplanned litters and restrict or eliminate territorial marking by male cats.

“On our Jan. 18 transport, four cats came back listed as in heat and one pregnant," said Linda Sexton, vice president of Haywood Spay/Neuter. "We hope that pet owners and community cat caretakers will take advantage of our low-cost fees and get their dogs and cats fixed before Spring. These efforts will help to stop the inflow of homeless pets from unplanned litters into the county shelter where their fate is unknown."

The Haywood Spay/Neuter TNR team is looking for volunteers to help them.

“Last year 695 cats went through the TNR program,” said Donna Murray, TNR coordinator. “We could certainly use more volunteers who are concerned about community cats. This program really makes a difference, but we could do so much more with additional volunteers.”

PetSmart Charities aims to proactively prevent pet homelessness through increasing spay and neuter efforts. With the help of animal welfare partners, such as Haywood Spay/Neuter, PetSmart Charities has funded over 1.4 million spay and neuter surgeries in the U.S. since 2009.

For more information on low-cost spay/neuter services and TNR in Haywood County, call 452-1329.

About Haywood Spay/Neuter
Our mission – to serve the community by providing low-cost spay/neuter and wellness services – for pets of low-income households in our community sets our goal to assure that everyone who has a cat or dog can afford to spay or neuter their pets and outdoor cats.

About PetSmart Charities
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. Each year nearly 500,000 dogs and cats find homes through our adoption program in all PetSmart stores across the U.S. and sponsored adoption events. Each year millions of PetSmart shoppers contribute to PetSmart Charities to help pets in need by making donations on a pin pad at the register. PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar to support its mission of finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets. PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding adoption and spay/neuter programs that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, independent from PetSmart, Inc. PetSmart Charities has received the Four Star Rating for the past 13 years from Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization.