Houlton Humane Society receives $120K grant

HOULTON, Maine – The Houlton Humane Society has received a $120,000 grant from the  Elmira B. Sewell Foundation to help defray the costs associated with spay/ neuter clinics offered to pet owners in southern Aroostook County.

The grant will provide $40,000 a year for each of the next three years. 

“It’s a blessing to our community and the shelter,” said Catherine Virgie,  manager of the shelter operated by the HHS. 

The clinics are part of an effort to reduce the number of stray,  abandoned, and unwanted cats and dogs that wind up at the shelter. Just this summer a pregnant dog and four pregnant cats were brought in. They,  in turn, resulted in an additional seven puppies and 13 kittens needing  care. The shelter also received seven kittens that came in without a  mother.  

“In the past it’s been 10 times worse,” Virgie added. “We’ve made huge  strides (because of the clinics). It used to be before April this place was full of cats and litters of kittens.” 

The Sewell grant provides funding to cover costs associated with running the clinics. 

Virgie said reducing cat and dog populations in the region also saves money for the shelter, which in turn can help keep costs down for contract towns. 

As an example, an abandoned dog with two broken legs was brought to the shelter earlier this year. Medical costs associated with the dog’s treatment came to $3,300, she said. Animals cared for at the shelter receive all necessary medical treatment. Fewer abandoned animals means lower costs for that care. 

So far this year, HHS has held two clinics during which a total of 107 cats and 66 dogs were spayed or neutered. The next clinic is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Linneus Fire Department station. Appointments are required. More information on the  clinics is available on the HHS website at  

The Sewell Foundation is based in Freeport and according to its website, makes grants to organizations in the state in the areas of animal welfare, healthy people-healthy places, and legacy. 

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