The state’s budget deficit is now affecting some animal clinics.
The Department of Agriculture is putting part of their "Animal Population Control Program" on hold, which means they won't be giving money out to clinics that spay and neuter feral cats in Connecticut.
Protectors of Animals in East Hartford has become known for their spay and neuter clinic.
Not only do they help the average pet owner, they're heavily involved in controlling the feral cat population in a number of surrounding communities.
“What that does is it prevents litters from being born and that also impacts the shelters so they're able to help other cats in the community,” said Kerry Bartoletti, of Protectors of Animals.
The group will trap, neuter or spay them, vaccinate them, then put them back out into the community.
“A feral cat that is spayed or neutered, they're not going to be destroying property, not going to be yelling or fighting because they want to mate, so it's a benefit to the community all around,” Bartoletti said.
Protectors of Animals in East Hartford gets $4,000 from the state, and that money allows them to spay or neuter 50 feral cats.
Part of the program is giving them a rabies shot as well.
“It's a huge safety benefit for the entire community to have those vaccinations done,” Bartoletti said.
The Department of Agriculture said they had no choice, adding that $150,000 was taken out of the program's account and put into the general fund to help pay down the state's deficit.
Even though the feral cats get rabies vaccinations, the Department of Agriculture doesn't believe suspending the program will harm public safety because the animals aren't ever getting the necessary follow-up shots.
"Although it's a benefit, it's not a huge impact because the first vaccination only lasts a year,” Bartoletti said.
Protectors of Animals spay and neuter up to 160 feral cats every year. They say this will impact them in a big way.
“It makes us have to look at where we can make up that difference from a grant writing perspective and program perspective to be sure to get those animals done and impacts other rescues throughout CT that rely on those vouchers to get feral cats in communities,” Bartoletti said.
There is no word how long this suspension will last.
If a feral cat was involved in this program, they will clip its ear and that's how they can tell it was spayed, neutered and vaccinated.
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