The Kamloops branch of the B.C. SPCA has received $50,000 to tackle the city's cat overpopulation.
The PetSmart Charities grant will allow the shelter to provide 400 free spay and neuter surgeries to cat owners in need in 2019. The River City branch has one of the highest cat intake of any B.C. SPCA shelter in the province. Just last year, staff took in and care for more than 1,000 cats and kittens.
"We're thrilled to have received this generous grant that will enable our organization to begin work in a city that is in desperate need of intervention," says Charleen Holloway, manager of the local shelter, in a press release.
She notes staff will be working through the city "area by area."
Holloway anticipates the program to be a multi-year project. In the first year, the surgeries will be available to residents from the North Shore and Brocklehurst communities only.
In an interview with KamloopsMatters, Holloway says the shelter originally applied for funding to cover 800 surgeries. With half of the surgeries granted, staff decided to allocate the spay and neuter services to hot-bed areas known to have a high concentration of cats, she says.
"Our hope is to expand the program (to other areas) if we're granted that (money) again," she says. "For if some strange reason we don't see 400 folks come, we will then re-evaluate further data (from other neighbourhoods)."
Holloway says the Kamloops shelter will apply for 2020 funding in the fall.
She notes the Kamloops branch has the highest intake of cats because the facility serves many surrounding areas, including Lillooet, Clearwater and Chase.
Eligible residents from the North Shore and Brock can fill out an online application form (found HERE). They can also stop by the branch to receive a voucher for a free spay or neuter surgery.
Participants will be asked for proof of residence when picking up their voucher. While the program is free, recipients will be asked to donate back $40 to the fund if possible, to enable the SPCA to help even more cats get fixed, notes the release.