Islands' Sounder


Spaying, neutering, micro-chipping and more at Orcas Animal Shelter

Islands Sounder Reporter
January 10, 2013 · Updated 9:34 AM

Humans can give their pets food, shelter, lots of love and the gift of health and safety with spaying/neutering, micro-chipping and licensing. / Contributed photo

Dogs and cats provide their human owners various life lessons like the “Zen” of  living in the moment, how to love unconditionally and even promoting exercise – can we go to the park, please, please, please? Actually it would probably sound more like: woof, woof, woof.

Humans can give their pets food, shelter, lots of love and the gift of health and safety with spaying/neutering, micro-chipping and licensing.


The Orcas Animal Protection Society is offering free spaying/neutering for cats of Orcas Island residents starting now. Discounts are also available for spaying/neutering dogs.

Cats are the priority, according to Shelter Manager Marsha Waunch, because there are always 20 or more cats at APS.

A grant from the Bernice Barbour Foundation provides the shelter with funding to help cover surgical costs.

But Waunch said even after the money runs out, the shelter will continue to provide financial assistance for spaying/neutering procedures.

Waunch cares deeply about this issue, because it not only helps to ensure that pets have homes on the island, but also supports shelter populations off the island.

“Because we have done such a good job on Orcas [of spaying or neutering pets] we don’t get that many unwanted or abandoned animals and that helps provide space for animals from other shelters in communities where they have to put animals down because of a lack of space,” Waunch said.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, four million cats and dogs– about one every eight seconds – are put down in U.S. shelters each year.

Spaying and neutering can not only reduce pet overpopulation, but can also help promote your pet’s health.

According to Orcas Animal Protection Society’s website, the benefits are:

• Preventing unwanted litters, but also keeping animals healthier, more content and better behaved.

• Neutering eliminates most roaming and fighting, thus reducing the risk of injury and infections as well as reducing aggression toward other animals.

• The neutered male will also be less likely to be affected by hormones that cause him to mark indoor and outdoor turf.

• Spaying your female makes her far easier to live with by eliminating heat cycles and annoyance from roaming males.

• Spaying can eliminate a number of potential health problems including tumors and uterine diseases.

Waunch added that the beginning of the year is a good time for spaying/neutering because female cats go into heat at the end of January and into February.

“It’s a good time to stem the tide of unwanted litters,” she said.


Pets undergoing spaying or neutering can also get micro-chipped for $10. Micro-chipping involves injecting a tiny computer chip with an identification number under the skin of the pet. According to the Orcas Animal Protection Society’s website, the procedure is completely safe and can be performed on animals of any age.

“Animals can lose collars but they can’t use a micro-chip,” said Waunch. “We always celebrate when a stray comes with a micro-chip so we can track down its owner.”

Dog licenses for 2013

San Juan County requires all dog owners to license their dogs annually. Licenses for the New Year are available at the Orcas Animal Shelter from 2-5 p.m. They are also available at Pawki’s for Pets and Eastsound Kennels. Dog licenses are $30 and $12 if the dog is spayed/neutered. If your dog is micro-chipped, bring the chip number. If you don’t know your pet’s micro-chip number, staff can provide an identifying scan.

For a $5 fee, San Juan County can also add a digital photo of your dog to the license database to assist with identification if your pet is lost/found.

Rabies tags issued for a three-year period by a veterinarian are often confused with dog license tags, but they are not the same.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, call the Orcas Animal Shelter at 376-6777.

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