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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Feral Fixin'

Several years ago, our management team got together to look at the future. A non-profit (or a business that matter) should always be several years ahead of the organization. What are the challenges on the horizon that might require changes in the way we utilize our generous support?

It was clear from all angles that, in the East Bay, we were beginning to get a handle on the overpopulation of dogs, at least in our community. That doesn't mean dogs don't end up homeless, and in need of new homes. But that does mean that there is beginning to be a balance between the number of homeless dogs and the resources, and space, available.

Good news for dogs. But we were no where near close to ending the overpopulation of cats.

While people react when they see a stray dog, folks rarely even notice the stray cat. The stray cat is silent, usually in hiding until the evening. And if homeless, as many of them are, they are very, very prolific, each cat creating hundreds and thousands of offspring in just a few short years.

Funded by our generous donors, the East Bay SPCA launched the Feral Fix Hotline in April of this year to provide support to the residents of Alameda and Contra Costa County, with regard to feral cats, especially providing free trap rental and free spay and neuter surgeries for individuals willing to follow Trap - Neuter - Return.

We are so proud of our success. In 2005, we performed 770 feral cat surgeries at no cost, most of them to clients who were assisted by our very dedicated partners at ICRA and Fix Our Ferals.

In 2006, with the launch of the Feral Fix Hotline, we are well over 700.

It's not going to be quick, but working together, animal welfare in the East Bay is making a big dent in the problem.

For more information on the East Bay Feral Fix, or if you'd like to volunteer, read about our program here: http://www.eastbayspca.org/feral

We actually have a number of very similar programs where I come from. I have worked regularly on a site that has a number of feral cat "residents". It can be tricky work, but we do trap them as we discover more of them in different "territories" and take them in to be spayed and neutered. Then, the animal gets a chance to live on our site without the dangers that you have wisely pointed out here.

I do hope this program is successful.

 

Could you pat yourselves on the back any louder?
Although the pitbull fix program is helpful, you do place a few pit bulls, and you convened one meeting on pitbulls with other rescue groups, I don't think you can say that the aggressive dog issue in Oakland is addressed. Go over to OAC and ask them how many pit bulls they killed this month.

And again, you finally get around to noticing the feral cats, and yes, you are offering some help but it is not time to be so proud of yourselves.
What happened to humble?
R.Court
East Oakland

 

Thanks for your thoughts. Actually, we are really proud of our work with pit bulls and with ferals. I do wish the agressived dog issue in Oakland was solved, but as you point out, it is far from addressed. That is exactly why programs that go beyond the typical shelter/adoption solution are needed.

We hope Pit Bull Hall and free pit bull spay/neuter DO convince other shelters to also look beyond the confines of traditional shelter services to address these problems whose solutions are more elusive.

Ferals have never in 130+ years of history been part of our mission, because our focus has been on the multitude of adoptable dogs and cats; so many perfectly friendly, easily adopted cats were being killed, our focus was there. It's not a choice, its the mission, which every good non profit has to pay attention to.

But as do other non profits when able, extend the resources. Today we are very fortunate to not just pulling hundreds of cats monthly from other shelters but also pay for the spay and neuter of unowned animals, too.

There is a lot of work to do, but yes, we are very proud of the contributions we have been able to make so far, thanks to the donors that fund thousands and thousands of spay neuter surgeries a year.

 

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