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Grant story: Spay and neuter surgeries at Coulee Region Humane Society

May 27, 2021

Katie Berkedal, Program DirectorBy Katie Berkedal, Program Director

Coulee Region Humane Society – Sheltering our furry friends

Jamie with a cute kitten!

Executive Director Jamie Schloegel snuggles a cute kitty up for adoption at the humane society during a tour with our donor advisors in 2019.

Coulee Region Humane Society has lovingly cared for animals in our community for decades. They take in all stray and surrendered animals from young to old, healthy to sick, friendly to aggressive, small to large — allowing every animal a safe refuge regardless of its circumstance. And with a team of staff and volunteers who care deeply about animal welfare, it’s nothing short of heartbreaking every time a homeless cat or dog arrives at shelter.

The most effective way of reducing the number of stray animals is by spaying or neutering them. Yet, without the resources to provide that surgery in-house, many of the adopted animals were leaving shelter unaltered — leaving a financial burden to the new owners. Private veterinarians often charge hundreds more to alter pets than shelters who do them in-house.

A grant to expand the surgical suite to spay and neuter in-house

Coulee Region Humane Society wanted to alter all of the animals under their legal guardianship prior to being adopted, and lacked the funding to expand their surgical suite. That’s where the community foundation comes in. Thanks to generations of generous community members, we often help nonprofit organizations move a great idea into fruition with the help of grant funding. An $11,000 grant was awarded to Coulee Region Humane Society in 2020 to purchase the medical equipment needed to perform in-house spays and neuters.

Veterinarian adjusts the anesthesia machine

A veterinarian at the humane society adjusts the anesthesia machine prior to surgery.

The goals of this grant include:

  • altering all animals prior to adoption, or providing a spay/neuter voucher to new fur parents to bring back kittens and puppies that were too young at the time of adoption or had health concerns
  • reduce the number of stray animals in the community

How the spay and neuter expansion program is going

Since the time of the grant award, the humane society has purchased the medical equipment needed to provide in-house spay and neuter surgeries for cats, and is steadily increasing the amount of in-house alterations annually. A veterinarian comes to the clinic several times a week to perform the surgeries.

Checking a kitty's heart rate

A cat has her heartrate checked prior to surgery.

In 2017, only 18 percent of animals were spayed or neutered in-house in a small surgical room. After expanding the surgical suite in 2020 with grant funding, 65 percent of cat spay and neuter surgeries were performed in-house. They plan to grow the program even more in 2021 with the purchase of a larger surgical table to provide K-9 spay and neuter surgeries.

In-house spay and neuter surgeries help animals find their fur-ever homes faster

Another added benefit to performing spay and neuter surgeries at the humane society is that it reduces the amount of time each cat and dog spends in shelter. Before, animals would have to travel back and forth between the shelter and vet clinics while they recovered from surgery. Doing these alterations in-house decreases the chances for animals to get secondary infections or stress-induced illnesses.

Being able to do alterations at the shelter also makes it possible to get services accomplished at a much faster pace. Altering animals sooner means they can find loving homes more quickly. The less time animals spend at the shelter means a more positive experience for the animals, and money saved in care expenses.

Ready to adopt?

Check out the list of current animals ready for adoption at Coulee Region Humane Society! Fun fact: Foundation staff has a collective total of 10 rescued cats and one rescued dog, plus chickens, lizards, and other random animals.