A portable solution for pets
Last Modified: March 26. 2013 12:29PM
NODYIA FEDRICK, Times Leader Intern
Stray cats are a nuisance in some Northeastern Pennsylvania communities, but a nonprofit is working on a portable solution.
Since 2009 Barbara Loch, clinical director of Eastern PA Animal Alliance, has been able to spay and neuter 12,000 cats and dogs through its mobile clinic and home office in the Poconos.
Also traveling in the Wyoming Valley-Scranton areas are veterinary medical doctor Kimberly Mah, three technicians and volunteers.
With the abundance of strays, the staff has only had enough time to visit its stationary location four times in the past month.
“We don’t want to help people who can only make it to Brodheadsville” where the operation is based, Loch said.
The mobile office specializes and encourages a trap, neuter and release service for feral felines and is cheaper than most veterinary hospitals.
The self-efficient truck houses an anesthesia machine, a surgery table and an area for recuperation.
“We’re like any other vet hospital except without all the bells and whistles,” Mah said.
The Animal Alliance staff expects people to trap the cats themselves, but trained volunteers are available to lend a hand if necessary.
After the cats are spayed or neutered, the staff recommends a 24-hour recovery period before releasing the animals back into its original colony.
“Our main concern is getting the cat population under control. The thing is, you need to fix 70 percent to make an impact,” Loch said.
One of the most overgrown colonies the staff visited was in the Poconos where nearly 1,000 cats roamed freely. Only 100 were sterilized.
“Some people will never solve their issue,” Loch admitted.
Although the truck is intended for feral cats, Loch and the technicians are able to accommodate dogs less than 40 pounds.
Pet owners should also look at getting their domesticated cats or dogs fixed.
“A lot of people don’t think their pet will get out, but then they do there’s a whole litter to account for,” said Loch.
Spaying and neutering also decreases mammary and prostate cancer.
The black veterinary truck can be seen trailing up and down eastern Pennsylvania as far east as Matamoras, Pike County on the border of New Jersey to and Meshoppen in Wyoming County and Bloomsburg in Columbia County.
This week it made its way to Griffin Pond Animal Shelter in South Abington Township where tabby cats were found tiptoeing around the shelter grounds. The strays were either greeting those coming in and out of the building or lounging about on the first official day of summer.
“We work with them so they don’t have to put as many down,” Loch said.
According to Eastern Pennsylvania Animal Alliance’s website, feral cats do not require an appointment.
Loch, Mah and the technicians will be in Wilkes-Barre Township Monday to spay and neuter cats only. Each cat must be registered between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
Mobile unit in Luzerne County
• Cats only at Hazle Street Beer and Deli 613 Hazle St. Registration between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on June 25, 28 and July 2, 9, 12, 26 and 30, Aug. 9, 13,16, 20, 27 and 30
•Cats only at Tractor Supply Co., 2456 Sans Souci Parkway. Registration between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on July 13.
• Cats only at Tractor Supply Co. 216 Susquehanna Blvd. Registration between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on July 27.