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SPCA stops taking in cats due to overcrowding

Updated: Aug. 27, 2019 at 3:13 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Jefferson County SPCA is overwhelmed with 265 cats and counting.

"We currently have 75 cats in the shelter, we only have 81 cages, we have 145 cats and kittens in our foster care program, and we also have a pre-vax, a waiting list, of 50 waiting to come into the shelter," said Heather Spezzano, executive director.

But the SPCA is doing all it can. It says this year its adoption rates have tripled, but it just can't keep up with the inflow of cats.

Spezzano says it's because not enough cats are spayed and neutered.

The SPCA runs a trap-neuter-release program and fixes every cat that comes through. But it's not enough.

Head veterinary technician Amy Wonderly says they do 20 to 30 spay and neuter operations in a single day.

"The numbers have just been blown out of proportion. We have added two additional surgery days, so now we're doing surgeries three days a week, we've never had more than one surgery day a week," she said.

But despite the many operations and high adoption rates, the shelter still has to turn cats away.

"We get calls probably 20-30 times a day, people saying, 'I found a stray cat, I've got a momma it's got ten kittens, can you take it,'" said Spezzano.

They can't. The shelter doesn't have the space or supplies.

"Overcrowding is a huge problem. It does contribute to the outbreaks of upper respiratory infections," said Wonderly.

We met one kitten, which was the only survivor of his litter. The kittens were sick when they came in and overcrowding made things worse, despite best efforts of vets.

To help, Spezzano says take pets and strays in to be fixed.

It costs $30 dollars, but could prevent further overcrowding.

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