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Published: Wednesday, 6/18/2008

Humane Ohio extends into Michigan its services for strays

BY MEREDITH BYERS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Janet Powers' neighbor leaves her basement window open and receives more than a few feline visitors.

"It's like a cat factory," said Ms. Powers, a Block Watch leader in her Garfield Heights neighborhood as she talked about the large stray cat population in East Toledo. "The cats keep having litter after litter and it's cruel for these animals.

"We live by the river so we need a few cats to control the mice population. But we don't need generation after generation," she said.

Her plight is not uncommon, and Humane Ohio can offer some assistance.

Humane Ohio is a Toledo-based nonprofit organization that provides low-cost spay/neuter procedures. It charges $25 for the service, and performs 8,000 procedures per year.

The organization was founded in 2002 and serves six counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Aimee St. Arnaud, Humane Ohio founder, said East Toledo has an especially large population of strays. The group is making a special effort in East Toledo, thanks to money left over from a failed cat licensing fund given by the city and the Health Department.

"East Toledo tends to feel ignored. Our goal is to make everyone feel very much a part of this," Ms. St. Arnaud said.

"Our goal is to perform the procedure on 1,400 cats. We're trying to make a dent in the population," said Ms. St. Arnaud.

She estimates these procedures cost anywhere from $100-$300 at a veterinary clinic.

Ms. St. Arnaud said Humane Ohio is able to offer the procedures at a low price because it is a nonprofit and the cost can be subsidized through grants and private donations.

East Toledo residents can have their cats neutered or spayed for $25. Strays will be treated for free. Residents must call Humane Ohio to reserve a spot. All reservations must be received by June 25.

Anyone wanting to take advantage of the service must fill out paperwork at the East Toledo Family Center; the fee is due on June 26 between noon and 2 p.m.

"We're really hoping that residents will take advantage of this," said Kim Partin, director of the East Toledo Family Center.

On July 1, Humane Ohio will be at Cypress Point mobile home park, 2510 Consaul St. On July 2, the group will be in the parking lot of the East Toledo Family Center, 1020 Varland Ave., at 7:30 a.m. and will pick up cats then. The cats will be returned to their owners on July 7.

Ms. St. Arnaud said she hopes to hold two or three of these events per month. The next event will be July 9.

"We definitely do see a large number of strays and abandoned cats from East Toledo," said Sherri Miller, a spokesman for the Toledo Area Humane Society.

Contact Meredith Byers at:

mbyers@theblade.com

or 419-724-6101.



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