Pittsburgh implements free animal spay, neuter program

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Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council President Darlene Harris today kicked off a free spay and neuter program that's intended to reach 3,000 dogs and cats this year.

Mrs. Harris pushed the program through council last year as a humane way to deal with the city's overpopulatin of dogs and cats. It was a lean year financially, though, and Mr. Ravenstahl didn't implement it.

Today, Mr. Ravenstahl called the program "a priority" and the kind of service a city on the move should offer residents.

The city allocated $170,000 for the program -- the same as Mrs. Harris wanted to spend last year. The procedures will be performed by Animal Rescue League in Homewood, Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on the North Side and Animal Friends in Ohio Township.

The 250 city residents who applied last year need not apply again. Others may download an application at www.pittsburghpa.gov/animalcontrol.

Each city resident may have up to five pets spayed or neutered for free.

"I don't know of any other city offering a program like this," Gerald Akrie, the city's animal control supervisor, said.

Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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