Kitsap Humane Society gets help for spay-neuter programs

Kitsap Humane Society Veterinarian Melissa Kehl, performs a spay surgery on a cat.  - KHS photo
Kitsap Humane Society Veterinarian Melissa Kehl, performs a spay surgery on a cat.
— image credit: KHS photo

The conservative number is 12,177 fewer kittens born so far this year.

That’s what the spay and neuter program at the Kitsap Human Society has accomplished to date by performing 1,353 spay or neuter surgeries on cats and 600 on dogs so far in 2013.

Because each unaltered female cat can produce up to nine kittens a year, the surgeries that the Kitsap Humane Society have performed may have saved more than 12,000 unwanted kittens from being born and ending up in shelters.

That’s even more reason why shelter officials are thrilled to recently receive three grants that will help them keep their spay and neuter programs going.

The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island awarded KHS $6,987 for the purchase of 15 spay-neuter packs. The Handsel Foundation, a private family foundation, awarded KHS $10,000 and the Bainbridge Community Foundation awarded KHS $5,000 for its spay-neuter programs.

“Kitsap Humane Society veterinarians completed a record 3,700 spay-neuter surgeries in 2012 and are working to increase that number by 10 percent in 2013,” said KHS executive director Eric Stevens. “So far, they have performed almost 1,953 surgeries. These grants will enable us to make continued progress in the prevention of unwanted litters that invariably end up at the shelter in great numbers, especially kittens.“

The Bainbridge Rotary grant specifically provides funds for 15 large and small spay-neuter packs that include specialized forceps, needle holders, surgical towels and other equipment that must be individually sterilized and wrapped for each surgery.

“We are able to complete each spay/neuter surgery within a few minutes depending on the type of animal and size,” said. Dr. Jennifer Stonequist, KHS’ director of shelter medicine. “But when all the spay/neuter packs are used up, we have to wait while the used ones are being re-sterilized and wrapped, which is the time-intensive part of the process. Having more of these packs will allow us to complete significantly more surgeries.”

More surgeries are what Kitsap Humane Society aims to accomplish.

“When you consider that an unaltered female cat and her offspring have the potential to produce 17 cats in two years, 55 in three years, 175 in four years until the number reaches over 5,000 at seven years, it becomes clear why there is a crisis in the overpopulation of companion animals in the United States,” Stonequist said. “We are committed to reducing the population and relieving the strain on shelters like KHS.” 

Kitsap Humane Society spay-neuter programs include partnerships with PAWS Bainbridge/North Kitsap and PAWS Bremerton.

KHS offers ongoing, low-cost spay-neuter services to pets of low-income residents of Kitsap and Mason counties, including Cat Fix Days every second and last Tuesday of the month. Low-income is defined as $51,750 or less in a 3-member household and $57,500 or less in a 4-member household.

For pet owners whose pet has had a litter, the owner may bring in the offspring and KHS will spay or neuter them when they are of appropriate age (at least 2 months old) and find them forever homes.  KHS will also spay/neuter and return the parent(s) free of charge.

In addition, KHS offers a no-cost spay/neuter service for low-income owners of pit bulls or pit bull mix because pit bulls are currently the most common breed or mixed breed surrendered in the nation’s shelters.

A Community Cats Program is underway at Kitsap Humane Society. The goal is to trap, spay/neuter and release 600 feral cats in Bremerton. Four months into the program, KHS has altered 167 feral cats. For more information, visit

For more information on all spay/neuter programs, visit or call 360-692-6977.


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