Funding means cat clinics will continue


A local cat rescue organization will continue its mission of spaying or neutering cats and meeting the needs of pet owners in Aroostook County, with a grant of $ 52,000.

CARIBOU, Maine – A local cat rescue organization will continue its mission of spaying or neutering cats and meeting the needs of pet owners in Aroostook County, with a grant of $ 52,000.

Norma Milton, president of Halfway Home Pet Rescue at Caribou, said the pet rescue has received total funding of $ 52,000 for the continuation of their community cat sterilization clinics throughout the region.

The Maine Community Foundation awarded $ 10,000 to the organization and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation provided $ 42,000 to ensure continued feline sterilization programs, as well as a pet pantry for underprivileged families in due to COVID issues and the Meals on Wheels program through the Aroostook area agency. of Aging located in Presque Isle.

The Caribou Wellness Center offers space for the surgical unit of the clinic team. Additionally, the Sewall Foundation grant repaired the roof of the leaking HHPR warehouse on Broadway Street in Caribou.

According to Milton, the sterilization of the Wandering, Wild and Unwanted Cat Population program lowered admission numbers of at-risk animals by more than 70 percent to cruelty-free shelters in the area, a figure she believed to be conservative.

“It made a huge difference during the famous ‘kitten session’, which we [rescue staff] really dread every year. These kittens are cute, but they grow up fast and then they join the breeding team in large numbers, ”Milton said.

Feline overpopulation causes problems not only due to lack of space, but also additional health expense, she said.

“In recent years, the kitten season has quickly overwhelmed most shelter populations and caused a lack of space for other at-risk cats. Also, the more animals there are in the shelter, the more incidents of URI (upper respiratory tract disease) and other contagious diseases, ”said Milton.

The Back Woods Vet medical team, owned by Beth Sperry, DVM, travel to Caribou from Portland for three-day clinics four times a year. The team sterilizes approximately 150 publicly owned, protected and wild cats per visit. Sperry’s team also travels to Houlton for several other sterilization / sterilization clinics at the Houlton Humane Shelter.

Halfway Home Pet Rescue, a volunteer-based pet rescue with 30 dedicated volunteers, networks with various other pet and human welfare organizations to provide support through multiple channels, including Maine Animal Welfare Department via Aroostook County Agent Chrissy MacFarland to help provide pet food to families in need. Additionally, the Animal Refuge League in Greater Portland provides a wider adoption platform for stray cats in Aroostook County, and the Friends of Feral Felines in southern Maine provide a safe and warm environment for them. controlled feral cat colonies that keep feline family units together.

Various social agencies also contact HHPR for food supplies or boarding needs for at-risk clients with beloved pets, including the battered women’s shelter, the homeless shelter, and veterans groups. .

HHPR is partnering with the Central Aroostook Humane Society in Presque Isle, inviting the sister shelter to participate in the free sterilization / sterilization clinics. The Presque Isle Shelter, in turn, provides any additional space when needed for at-risk cats for which HHPR might not have room.

“Overall, this network of various aid agencies has been a huge success for the cats in Aroostook County, but more importantly, without the generous grants from the Maine Community Foundation and the Elmina B. Foundation, nothing all this would not be possible. “said Milton.

“Just a few years ago, this program seemed like an impossible dream. Now the dream is our reality.

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