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A.D.O.P.T. strives to decrease homeless pet population

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TribLocal Naperville
By Linda Kane, A.D.O.P.T. volunteer
Feb 14, 2011
A.D.O.P.T.’s veterinarian Dr. Linda Kopija, Fox Valley Animal Welfare League President Ellen Wullbrandt, and A.D.O.P.T.’s Medical Services Coordinator Chris Stirn gather in the Surgery Center with one of their furry friends (photo courtesy of D. Picard).

“Every day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in this country, while only 10,000 people are born. It’s simple math – there just aren’t enough homes for all of these animals.

“[Thus,] an estimated 4-6 million dogs and cats are euthanized in this country each year because they are not wanted by anyone, anywhere,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

The numbers tell a sad story

But Naperville’s A.D.O.P.T. (Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment) Pet Shelter is working to decrease those numbers. In 2010, A.D.O.P.T. veterinarian Dr. Linda Kopija and her primarily all-volunteer surgical staff performed 1,887 spay/neuter procedures, said Rich Glessner, A.D.O.P.T.’s director of operations.

Two years ago, the organization began its spay/neuter program with rescue groups; within the past several months, staff and volunteers have added a low-income spay/neuter arm, said Chris Stirn, medical services coordinator.

One of Stirn’s many jobs is to schedule all surgeries. “We continue to push to expand the program and to try to eliminate the overpopulation of cats and dogs,” Stirn said. “That’s really our goal: to help as many animals as we can and do it in a caring, loving way.”

Rescue groups from as far away as Wisconsin bring animals to A.D.O.P.T.’s spay/neuter clinics which run two, sometimes three, days a week. Stirn said she believes A.D.O.P.T.’s program is the only one locally to regularly provide the spay/neuter services to rescue groups.

One such group, Catnap from the Heart located in LaGrange Park, usually brings 10-12 cats each week for spaying/neutering. Catnap Director Bobbi Meyer says she has worked with other spay/neuter groups; however, “at this point, A.D.O.P.T. is our only spay/neuter clinic,” Meyer said. “We have received the best service, the best spays/neuters from your vet there at A.D.O.P.T.

“We’ve been very happy with the service. The quality is above and beyond; it’s top notch.”

Come kitten season, Meyer said, she expects to bring in approximately 30 kittens weekly for spaying/neutering.

“I had an opportunity to watch your veterinarian (Dr. Linda Kopija),” Meyer said. “I was so impressed with her procedure and just everything about her. You folks there are very lucky to have her.”

Stirn agrees.

“She (Dr. Kopija) is very compassionate,” Stirn said. “She takes individual care with each animal. We feel it’s important that every animal that comes into our clinic as a surgical patient is treated like an ‘owned’ animal, like if you went to a veterinary clinic.”

Meyer, who began Catnap as a boarding facility about 15 years ago, says she is “so happy [that A.D.O.P.T] has taken in [her rescue group].

“I don’t mind driving if I can get good service,” she added. “I think it’s important that we all work together, and I’m proud to be a part of the group that A.D.O.P.T. works with.”

Closer to home, Linda Nass, Aurora Animal Control (A.A.C.) director, agrees. “It’s a blessing to have these animals spayed and neutered,” Nass said. “It has always been a goal to get all animals spayed/neutered prior to adoption.”

In addition to helping curb overpopulation, spaying/neutering benefits the animals’ health, Stirn said. “Dogs that are spayed are less likely to develop breast cancer tumors,” she said. “Dogs that are neutered are less likely to develop prostrate cancer. Also, it helps dogs with marking and cats with spraying.”

Besides aiding rescue groups like Catnap and A.A.C., A.D.O.P.T.’s spay/neuter clincs help low-income pet owners.

At least two Mondays each month, the surgical staff helps those receiving state aid, unemployment, social security and disability get their pets spayed/neutered for a small fee. For example, a cat neuter costs $25; a cat spay $35. Additional information can be found at A.D.O.P.T.’s website, www.adoptpetshelter.org.

“At some point, I’d like to see A.D.O.P.T. work with ferals and bully breeds, like pit bulls, but we’re in the early stages of developing programs, “ Stirn said. “There’s a lot coming up ahead.”

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