To the editor:
March 29-30 was a banner weekend in Toronto. Not only were 132 stray and pet cats spayed or neutered, many received additional medical treatment at the first bi-annual Fix-A-Thon held in the city. More than 50 of these cats were brought in by Toronto residents.
Without the support of Safety Director John Parker and Fire Chief Frank McEwen, securing the use of the community room at the fire department for this clinic would not have been possible.
The presence of state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, and state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, both of whom have sponsored and co-sponsored bills to protect companion animals, helped raise awareness regarding the importance of spaying and neutering and animal protection legislation.
As in many communities, there is an increasing number of unwanted, and often abandoned, kittens being born. Statistics show that an unaltered female, her unaltered mate and their offspring can produce 12 cats or more in one year. In three years, that number increases to nearly 400 cats.
In Ohio, trapping and abandoning cats, poisoning, drowning or shooting them as ways to control the population is illegal and punishable by 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. The penalty will increase to a felony conviction upon passage in the Ohio Senate of HB 274, also known as Goddard's Law.
The only proven method of population control of free roaming cats and the resulting damage to property from territorial marking (spraying) is through trap, neuter and release.
Thanks to paid sponsorships by Judy Lewis of Cut 1 Salon at Images; Vanessa Moyer of Hampton Inn of Steubenville; Mike Biasi of Valley Converting; Toronto Coalition for Revitalization, approved by president George Komar; and fundraising efforts by Cynthia Morris and staff at Texas Roadhouse; product donations by Nikki Ann Cable, Cheryl Clarke and Karen Pavik for drawings and to those who made anonymous monetary donations, 16 stray cats within Toronto city limits were spayed or neutered and received other veterinary services.
A private donation of $250 helped provide additional financial assistance to low-income pet owners with remaining funds to be used for the October Fix-A-Thon scheduled for October 25-26.
Not only do I want to thank all those who sponsored, donated or helped in any way possible in securing the location, I also want to thank Tracy Cotopolis, founder and CEO of SpayNeuterOhio, for agreeing to host the Fix-A-Thon, and Dr. Michelle Gonzales and her R.A.S.C.A.L. unit team for providing quality low-cost veterinary services; Marjie DeFede for her assistance during the peak hours of registration on both days; and members of the Toronto Fire Department, who offered numerous forms of assistance.
The delivery of pizza, courtesy of Toronto American Legion, was most unexpected but greatly welcomed and enjoyed.
I also want to acknowledge Choice Brands of Ohio for donating three promotional banners.
The need is great, throughout the Ohio Valley, for low-cost spaying and neutering of pets and, in particular, abandoned cats.