Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society (DPVHS)
Feral Spay Sunday is the most aggressive spay/neuter program for cats in the Pioneer Valley. This program provides free spay/neuter and vaccination for feral and barn cats. At one clinic every month, an all-volunteer staff neuters 50 or more wild cats at a donated animal hospital.
The Feral Spay Sunday program is a project of the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society in cooperation with volunteer veterinarians, the Homeless Cat Project, Catspills Mountain Rescue, and the Second Chance Animal Shelter.
Each clinic is staffed by 30 or more volunteers who do everything from complete paperwork to clean cages. Volunteer technicians assist volunteer veterinarians in surgery and provide post-operative care to each cat.
Each month, a different veterinarian donates the use of his or her hospital for a clinic. The clinics are held on Sundays when most animal hospitals are closed for business. DPVHS is especially appreciative of the support given us in our first year by the following animal hospitals: Northampton Veterinary Clinic, Sunderland Animal Hospital, Valley Veterinary Hospital, Family Veterinary Center, and the Second Chance Animal Shelter.
Which Cats Qualify for Feral Spay Sunday?
Feral Spay Sunday helps cats who do not live as a part of a human family. Cats who are friendly strays and who could easily be placed into a new home are not feral. These cats should be neutered and placed for adoption through one of the many local animal shelters and rescue programs. Wild cats or colonies of barn cats who would never otherwise receive veterinary care are the cats targeted by Feral Spay Sunday.
All cats who pass through the Feral Spay Sunday program must also have a regular caretaker (feeder) who agrees to work with the program. A "Caretaker Release" form must be presented to the clinic admission staff. Cats who do not have a regular feeder or who risk rounding up for extermination are not eligible for Feral Spay Sunday.
How it Works
Releasing the Cats Following Surgery
DPVHS recommends the release of feral cats as soon after surgery as possible, usually the following day. This is because most feral cats are terrified of human beings and have never been indoors or in a cage. The amount of stress they are under in captivity would only be prolonged by continuing to confine them.
If the cat has fully recovered from anesthesia and did not suffer surgical complications, releasing her back into her colony site is the most humane solution. She is less likely to suffer stress-related illnesses or tear open her incision in frustration as she tries to escape. For cats who are more comfortable with human contact, it may be fine to extend the post-surgical confinement.
If You Want to Visit a Feral Spay Sunday Clinic
If you would like to see a clinic in operation, contact Leslie Harris at the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn how to operate your own free clinics, if you are a member of the press, or if you are a veterinarian considering volunteering at a future clinic, they welcome your visit!
Things to Keep in Mind
Even though, the Feral Spay Sunday clinics are free to caretakers, it costs DPVHS approximately $20.00 per cat at each clinic. Our clinics are run entirely on contributions.
DPVHS asks that caretakers make a donation of any amount even if the caretaker canít cover the whole colony. They also accept donated supplies such as towels, sheets and newspapers.
Find More Information for Caring for Feral Cats
Visit the excellent websites of Alley Cat Allies and Neighborhood Cats. These sites not only have more information about trap-neuter-release, but also information about providing ongoing care for your feral cats - including winter care, and providing food & shelter. You can also use these sites to find TNR groups near you.
Visit the ASPCA Online Store for more Great Shelter Ideas.