Humane society gets $20K spay/neuter grant to help control cat population

Published 7:40 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Danville-Boyle County Humane Society recently announced another low-cost spay and neuter program it will partner up with area veterinarians to offer area residents. The program is funded by a $20,000 grant DBCHS received through PetSmart Charities Inc. It aims to control the community cat and pitbull/pitbull mix populations.

“We’re calling it ‘Kitties & Pitties,’” said Fizzy Ramsey, president of the DBCHS Board. She said PetSmart Charities is the leading funder of animal welfare in North America. And Kentucky, she pointed out, unfortunately tops the list for having the worst laws governing animal protection.

“Imagine if our efforts were more than doubled. By focusing on the populations most at risk and partnering with area veterinarians, we will begin to see a major paradigm shift at our shelter,” Ramsey said. It will help eliminate the need for euthanasia as means of population control, improving the lives of those caring for animals and giving those in the shelter’s care a better chance, she said.

Ruby, a pit bull mix, peeks from the outside into her cage at the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society. Photo by Bobbie Curd.

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The grant covers a one-year period and will pay to sterilize over 400 community cats and pit bull/pit bull mixes due to the combined efforts of DBCHS, Boyle County Animal Control and participating vets.

Both Ramsey and animal control/shelter director John Hambel said Happy Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic, which provides affordable surgery prices to those on public assistance, has affected area cat populations. Ramsey said the one vet on staff, plus its 20-plus volunteers have contributed to an over 20-percent reduction in shelter intake.

“But they get saturated, because it’s only one day a week,” Ramsey said, and DBCHS still gets in 20 or more cats per day. “But putting down cats that are feral — you’re still not addressing the population issue.”

Ramsey said staff and volunteers “can help people find ways to humanely keep a cat out of their yard or off their porch, instead of opting for euthanasia.” She said if someone wants to bring a cat into the shelter “just because it’s a nuisance,” they will find ways to help them.

“And if we can provide services to those people who are feeding cats in their yard,” Ramsey said, referring to offering spay/neutering surgeries, it can only help the problem.

She hopes those who have “community kitties” that hang out either indoor/outdoor, in backyards, barns or business offices take advantage of the service, which can only help the community.

DBCHS Board member George Coomer said many don’t realize the big difference between spaying or neutering feral cats and euthanizing them.

“Cats are territorial. If you euthanize them, other cats will come in and take over that territory. If you spay and neuter them, they will stay there and another one won’t take its place,” he said.

Ramsey said the grant came at the perfect time.

“We’ve been re-evaluating our practices, how we approach things, how animal control approaches things. We’re a team, here, and this is perfect timing,” she said. “Having the vision to better execute the mission, and now the funding.”

Spay/neuter practices lead to less homeless pets and shelter intake — and fewer incidences of diseases. It can also lead to the elimination of euthanasia used as a population control tool, Ramsey said. She said the raw number of cats and pit bull breeds brought to shelters each year exceed that of the homes available for adoption.

Ramsey said although rescues and strong adoption programs do reduce the strain on shelters, there is still a need for a more proactive spay/neuter program.

In a press release from DBCHS, Kelly Balthazor, a regional manager for PetSmart Charities, said, “By taking a proactive approach to reducing pet homelessness, DBCHS is preventing thousands of unplanned litters and eliminating strain on community resources. We are proud to support this initiative and look forward to the positive impact it will have throughout the local area.”

PetSmart says it has contributed more than $350 million in grants and programs benefiting animal welfare organizations.

So far, the participating practices include Town & Country Animal Clinic’ Nash, Cleveland & Godfrey Veterinary Clinic; and Heartland Veterinary Clinic. However, those who want to take part in the “Kitties & Pitties” surgery offer need to schedule it by calling DBCHS at (859) 238-1117, which will schedule the procedures with participating vets.

John Hambel, shelter/animal control director for DBCHS, shows the area where cats in need of loving care are housed, in order to be treated for illnesses before they can be adopted. Hambel says 20-plus cats a day are still being brought in to the humane society. Photo by Bobbie Curd.

Ramsey said the “Kitties & Pitties” surgery service is free for low-income clients who qualify, and it’s offered at a lower cost for those who don’t qualify.

“We asked that folks ‘spay it forward,’ if they can, which will help to sustain the program,” Ramsey said. “This is a wonderful philanthropic act by our local veterinarian clinics.”

Other shelter updates

Ramsey provided the DBCHS 2018 annual report, which included an updates of services and overall statistics:

• Happy Paws, opened in 2007, has performed more than 14,000 surgeries since then. In 2018, the low-cost spay and neuter clinic performed 1,107 surgeries; of those, 726 were on cats and 381 were on dogs. The clinic also received a $2,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which was matched by the Boyle County Fiscal Court to continue offering free surgeries for pitbull/pitbull mixes and community cats.

• In 2018, 1,039 animals were saved; 252 cats and 634 dogs were adopted; and 153 pets were sent to rescues.

• Mutts with Manners, a program in coordination with Northpoint Training Facilities where inmates train dogs to prepare them for adoption, worked with 25 dogs in 2018, and all were adopted. The all-volunteer group’s logo is “trained for your house in the big house.”

• The PetSmart adoption program in Nicholasville, where animals are taken each weekend through DBCHS, was responsible for 38 percent of total adoptions from the shelter. Many volunteers work with a shelter staff member every weekend to create animal/people matches, resulting in 396 animals’ lives saved in 2018. Four national weekend events were also provided through a $2,000 PetSmart Charities Grant.

• Since the DBCHS facility was expanded and updated, the percentage of dogs with “live outcomes” — adopted or sent to rescues, for example — has increased to 89 percent. Ramsey said the cat population continues to be a challenge, and “our hope in 2019 is to improve the 45-percent live outcomes to greater than 80 percent.”

• DBCHS held its fifth Pints for Pet Pub Crawl in downtown last year, with $8,000 being raised for the shelter.


To learn more about programs offered through Danville-Boyle County Humane Society, or to see if you qualify for free or reduced services, visit or call (859) 238-1117. Anyone interested in volunteering may email To help “spay it forward,” make donations on DBCHS website, or by mailed check, payable to DBCHS Spay/Neuter at P.O. Box 478, Danville, KY 40423.