Berkshire Humane Society overloaded with cats /

Domino, one year old, is up for adoption. The shelter is cutting its adoption fees in half for cats 7 months and older to clear up its clutter.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. “Have you considered welcoming a feline friend into your life?” Maybe now is the right time.

The Berkshire Humane Society is overburdened with cats and kittens due to fewer spaying surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shelter currently has a waiting list for cat abandonments and is reducing adoption fees for adult cats by 7 months and over 50% for the rest of the month.

Executive director John Perreault said pet ownership has skyrocketed during the pandemic, but during this time the veterinary community has shrunk, with some vets leaving the profession and fewer entering it.

He clarified that overcrowding has nothing to do with COVID-19 adoption returns.

“During COVID, spays weren’t essential surgeries… There are millions of surgeries that didn’t happen, and now it’s getting harder and harder to find a vet if you didn’t have one” , said Perreault.

“They are all heroes, our vets, they do such a good job but at the end of the day there are only 24 hours in a day and there is not much they can do.”

Because spaying and neutering surgeries are harder to come by, it also increases felines’ stay at the shelter while they wait for surgery before heading to a forever home.

Earlier this week, the shelter received a group of 21 cats that started as a pregnant female last December.

“We have cats everywhere, we have a lot of them in foster homes, we’ve had a lot of them in foster homes, we’ve taken in cats with kittens that were too young and now they’re old enough so we We’re bringing some of them back too because they’re ready for adoption,” Perreault explained, adding that likely for the first time he could say it’s “definitely the result of COVID.”

This is not specific to Berkshire County and is a national issue.

A study by the University of Florida’s Shelter Medicine Program found nearly 3 million missing neutering and neutering surgeries in the United States due to the pandemic and reported that this, combined with shortages of vets and staff, contributes to widespread overcrowding in pet shelters.

Adoption and promotion are the biggest help, but having patience also helps.

“If there’s someone out there who has to return their cat today, and we had to say, ‘we don’t have space,’ just to have some patience, work with us” , Perreault said when asked what the community can do.

“Ultimately the goal is to find that pet his forever home, and if he’s a beautiful adoptable cat, we can definitely do that, we just need to work together as a team to make it happen, that which may mean hanging on to that cat maybe a few more weeks before it enters the building.”

He urged residents with problems, concerns or questions to call the shelter to see if they can help before the problem reaches the point of abandonment of the animal.

BHS is still trying to do as many surgeries as possible and is holding community vaccination clinics, including a rabies clinic on Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Haddad Subaru.

Cat abandonments generally increase in August, September and October.

Perreault said from his experience that he observed that cats breed seasonally in the Northeast and go out of season from Christmas until spring. When they’re back in season, they have kittens and those who can’t find a home stay with the family all summer and when they come back to school there’s an increase in abandonment, he said.

Key words: animal shelter, Berkshire Humane Society, cats,


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