Flathead spay and neuter campaign keeping stray animal populations down
A month ago, we paid a visit to the Flathead County Animal Shelter to find plenty of room, and very few dogs.
When asked, shelter director Cliff Bennett told us the reason for the change included some policy changes by the shelter, but a large part of the credit goes to the efforts of the Flathead Spay and Neuter Task Force.
Task Force director Mimi Beadles remembers a time in Flathead County not so long ago, when stray animals were a major problem.
"You know people probably do remember seeing dead cats along the highways. In the Mountain Trader, it would just be full of pages of free cats," Beadles said. "They're lucky if they have two now. You never see hardly ever a dead animal on the road, dogs or cats."
14 years ago this coming weekend, the Spay and Neuter Task Force started their mission to humanely curb the stray pet population of Flathead County.
"We've done 37,000 surgeries," Beadles said. "So what we figure is for every surgery that we do, we've prevented four first generation births. So just right off the bat, 140,000 animals weren't born. And then if they had been able to continue to reproduce, it's you know a pretty astronomical numbers."
The biggest impact of course, is taking the burden off the shelters, not only in Flathead County, but in Lake, Sanders, Glacier and Lincoln counties as well.
"We've made a huge impact on the shelters. Our shelter 10-12 years ago had a 60 percent euthanasia rate. It's down to 2 and 3."
Beadles tells us that it took a couple of years, but Flathead County has really begun to approach pet overpopulation the right way.
"The most important thing we could ever do for our animals. Is to get them spayed and neutered. Because they will live longer, they're not contributing to other animals having to die. So it's, you know, the animals will forgive you. Pick them up and take them home and it's all good."
Click here for more information about how you can use the Spay and Neuter Task Force, or help them with their mission.