SPCA at capacity

Faith Hancock, a staff member with the Danville SPCA, with some of the cats available for adoption.

DANVILLE — On any given month, the Danville SPCA must have between 50 and 100 cats spayed or neutered.

Because of the high volume of cats served by the organization, site Director Kristen Szwast is especially thankful for a grant the SPCA was awarded to assist with fees related to spaying and neutering.

The BISSELL Pet Foundation recently presented a $10,025 grant to the Pennsylvania SPCA, with the funds to be divided through its Danville, Philadelphia and Lancaster centers.

“We got enough funding for, we estimate, about 90 spays or neuters for our center,” Szwast said. “It’s kitten season right now. We have an increased intake of our population.”

From late spring through early fall, Szwast said an increased number of individuals find litters of kittens on their properties.

“It’s when our feral cat population is reproducing at an exponential rate,” Szwast said. “We currently have close to 40 to 50 cats that we are looking for homes for.”

She noted there are other reasons behind the summer being a busy time of year for the organization.

“People are going on vacation and they can’t take care of their pets, so they surrender their pets,” Szwast said.

When litters of kittens are turned in to the Danville SPCA, she said staff must first make sure they are healthy enough to enter the shelter population. The kittens must also weigh at least 2 pounds.

Kittens not yet weighing 2 pounds are placed into the organization’s foster program.

Szwast noted that when litters are turned in, the individuals who find the litter are asked if they can foster the kittens until they reach 2 pounds.

“Sometimes, the finder can’t foster the cats,” she said. “We do have foster applications online (for individuals interested in fostering).”

Before being placed into foster care, the kittens are vaccinated and dewormed.

When animals are healthy enough, they are spayed or neutered through a local veterinarian. The animals are then available for adoption.

“In a month, we can (spay or neuter) 50 to 100, just cats,” Szwast said. “We are completely nonprofit. We rely on donations from the public, on little kids doing fundraisers for us, we rely on donations. We are community driven.”

Currently, the Danville SPCA is filled to capacity with 65 animals. Most are cats and dogs, although Szwast noted the shelter is currently caring for two pigs and one cow.

“We are very small staffed,” she said. “I only have five staff members. We work 10-hour days. Any time we can have volunteers come in and (assist), it saves us so much time, and it enriches the animals.”

Szwast expressed thanks for both the grant and anyone who contributes to the Danville SPCA.

“We are so grateful for the donation,” she said. “We are grateful that we have the ability to help all the animals in our community, that we aren’t contributing to the over-pet population.”

For information on contributing to or volunteering with the Danville SPCA, visit www.pspca.org.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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