The main tools to reducing the birth of unwanted animals are spay/neuter programs and community outreach. The majority of stray, feral and other homeless pets originates in low-income, under-resourced communities. Important pet resources like free spay/neuter surgeries, information on pet care and training, and affordable medical care are all necessary ingredients to reducing pet homelessness and building a humane community.
We realized early on that curtailing pet overpopulation was key to building a No Kill Chicago.
PAWS Chicago’s feral cat Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program is a critical aspect of our targeted spay/neuter approach. It is aimed at proactively sterilizing and managing the free roaming cat population, the source of thousands of kittens born on the streets each year. TNR reduces the number of animals entering the sheltering system while also saving kittens and finding them adoptive homes. In 2019, PAWS performed 2,244 spay/neuter surgeries on feral cats. Since the opening of the Lurie Clinic, PAWS Chicago has sterilized more than 47,500 feral cats.
The Pet Food Bank and Crisis Care Program offer food, supplies and temporary foster care for pets of families who have fallen on hard times, helping keep pets with their families and out of shelters. In 2019, we distributed more than 32,500 pounds of pet food to the community.
Expanding our reach and meeting people who would never have known about PAWS Chicago’s support and resources are the key objectives of our outreach efforts.
In late 2014, we also launched the PAWS for Life Outreach Program to connect families in need with resources and information to help them better care for their pets. This program focuses on families in need, supplying them with resources and information to help them better care for their pets.
Our door-to-door community outreach focuses on Chicago’s most under-resourced communities, reaching people where they live and providing pet information and resources, including free spay/neuter.
In 2019, PAWS Chicago held the Grand Opening of our Englewood Outreach Center which now houses our program operations including Community Medicine Days, Pet Food Pantry, Gus Bus days, volunteer orientations, feral cat shelter build, educational sessions and more.
About 91% of the pets we meet at PAWS for Life events have not been spayed or neutered. Of that number, we have been able to provide free spay/neuter and transportation for 85% of them.