Ocean Springs vet doing low cost spay and neuter

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals is hoping more veterinarians will follow the lead of Dr. Matthew Roth of Ocean Springs. Six months ago Dr. Roth began a partnership with Jackson County Spay and Neuter to sterilize feral cats at a reduced cost. Dr. Roth said he may be losing some in profits, but he's gaining much more.

The Pink Paws fundraiser gave Dr. Roth a chance to work on his golf game and a much needed break from the extra work load his staff has taken on.

"At our practice, we spay and neuter five feral cats on a weekly basis which doesn't sound like a lot but those feral cats could produce 100 kittens in one year," Dr. Roth said. "Feral cats don't have the adoptability like dogs do that are strays that end up at the Humane Society. So what we're trying to do with feral cats is really curb the population by spaying and neutering feral cats, releasing back into the population. So they're not euthanized, but they're also not going to produce more offspring."

Through a partnership with Jackson County Spay and Neuter, so far Dr. Roth has fixed 50 cats, most of which are feral. Officials said they trap the cats then the animals are given a rabies vaccination before they are either adopted out or released.

"Unwanted litters, the animals that are abandoned out there," said Helene Hicks of Jackson County Spay and Neuter. "They just throw them off to the side of the road, so they're starving. The starving leads you to digging in trash cans. They haven't had their shots, so they've got the diseases. Then you've got the fighting among themselves because they're not fixed. Then that spreads throughout your neighborhood."

Officials said all the proceeds for golf will go directly to paying for reduced cost spay and neutering for feral cats, as well as the pets of the elderly, disabled and low income residents.

Dr. Roth said if it helps the community, then it's worth the financial sacrifice.

"It's a small amount of animals, and you have to give back to the population you serve. So that's how we do it is by helping the animals that would not get it otherwise."

Jackson County Spay and Neuter will also transport the pets of the elderly and disabled to and from the doctor's office, if necessary. Officials said in three years the organization has had 850 animals fixed.

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