The Berkeley Humane Society in West Berkeley is now offering low-cost spay and neuter services in order to mitigate animal overpopulation.
The Humane Society’s “Spay the Bay” initiative offers subsidized surgery expenses through Berkeley Humane’s Veterinary Hospital at 2700 9th St. and also offers a list of low-cost options around the Bay Area. The initiative, which was developed over the past year, aims to help pet owners prevent the birth of unplanned litters and alleviate overcrowding in local shelters.
“We believe that affordable access to spay and neuter services will make a significant difference in the number of stray dogs and cats surrendered to local shelters,” said Jeffrey Zerwekh, executive director at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society in a press release. “Berkeley Humane is committed to making a greater impact on pet overpopulation in Berkeley and throughout the Bay Area.”
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, around 7.3 million dogs and cats enter shelters nationwide every year, and 2.6 million are euthanized. In addition to preventing the euthanization of animals in overcrowded shelters, spaying and neutering can benefit animals’ health.
According to Mint Bhetraratana, an adoption and animal care specialist at Berkeley Humane, spaying and neutering can prevent pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus, and help with behavioral issues such as territorial marking in male dogs.
“I work toward a world where everyone has reproductive rights and body autonomy, but … I’m supremely grateful for everyone who is working so hard to help dog and cat populations,” said Paul Darwin Picklesimer, a volunteer assistant manager with the Berkeley Animal Rights Center. “Part of that is … promoting effective spay (and) neuter programs.”
Berkeley Humane charges $65 to neuter a cat, $150 to neuter a dog, $85 to spay a cat and $200 to spay a dog, with an extra $75 fee for dogs over 75 pounds. A medical exam, microchip, e-collar and post-operation pain medication are included with a spaying or neutering procedure.
Keelee Wrenn, director of development and communications for Berkeley Humane, said the organization is not able to recoup all of the costs for their services and therefore it underwrites a significant portion of the costs of the Spay the Bay program with donations from individuals, foundations and companies.
“Anything that helps promote spaying and neutering of pets is positive,” said Dr. Michael Barlia, the veterinary director of Spay Neuter Impact Program.
SNIP, operating in Contra Costa County, offers spay and neuter services as well as immunizations to feral, free-roaming and homeless cats for $15 each.
“There are concerns about animals’ reproductive desires and needs,” said Zach Groff, press coordinator for Direct Action Everywhere. “However you come down on it, we are united in opposing overbreeding. We welcome Berkeley Humane’s desire to address this problem.”
Staff Writer Revati Thatte contributed to this report.