It's Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and Woods Humane Society is back to operating both of its clinics in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero at full capacity.
Dr. Leslie Sklena, Woods' director of veterinary medicine, says the clinics have been operating after a brief closure at the start of the pandemic, but not at full capacity. Sklena says due to the pandemic, it's been a day-by-day assessment on how to staff the clinics, but now they are able to have more volunteers in the building, which helps with the number of spay and neuter surgeries that can be done in a day.
"We will do 20-25 surgeries on a daily basis," Sklena said.
Emily L’Heureux, director of development at Woods Humane Society, says that in 2020 alone, more than 4,800 spay and neuter surgeries were performed between the two clinics.
The organization offers these services to the public, but also for animals at the shelter as well as for community cats.
Coupled with Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, Woods is turning to the community to ask for support for Project M.E.O.W.
"It subsidizes costs for these spay and neuter options for community cats, cats that are wild, roaming, are free and out in the public," L'Heureux said. "We want to make sure that in turn they are not having litter upon litter of kittens and just continuing this issue."
By making a spay and neuter appointment online, clients will have the option to donate to Project M.E.O.W. Project M.E.O.W. benefits community cats, or feral cats, that often live in colonies in neighborhoods or on property.
"Sometimes these cats are friendly enough to be around people but not friendly enough to be a house cat," Sklena said. "They're owned by no one but owned by all of us."
Community members who notice community cats in their neighborhoods can bring these cats in to be altered for only $25.
"The person who has some property up in Shandon and they notice a litter of kittens with the mom and maybe they've seen that mama cat have litter after litter. They don't own this cat but it's part of their ecosystem, it's part of their household essentially. We want to make sure we have available to them an affordable place to spay and neuter that cat."
All of the donations raised through Project M.E.O.W. will go towards continuing this affordable spay and neuter options for community cats.
"We want to make sure we have available to them an affordable place to spay and neuter that cat and that's what Project M.E.O.W. is for, it's for that cat who is going to come into the clinic, be altered, receive an ear tip, and a rabies vaccination and be put right back into the community," Sklena said.