Please Classify Spays/Neuters for Rescues/Animal Shelters as Essential

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We are reaching out to the Canadian Federal Government and the Ontario Provincial Government for assistance in classifying spays/neuters for animal rescues and shelters as an essential service. In this province and across Canada, pet overpopulation in particular for stray and feral cats is a major issue. The estimate for stray, abandoned & feral cats is in the millions across the country and in the hundreds of thousands in Ontario. The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association has issued a guideline that veterinarians should postpone spays & neuters. The guideline effectively creates a definition for spays/neuters to be a non essential service. Corporations face the threat of up to a $10,000,000 fine under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act if they continue non essential services. With recent information on covid 19, we now know that this virus can be spread to domestic cats and dogs. To date, there has been no proven cases of covid 19 being spread from dogs & cats to humans but there is still the potential for the virus to remain in the environment. Without spay/neuter services, we are increasing the risk of prolonged exposure to covid 19 while at the same time increasing exposure to rabies and other cross species communicable diseases. Postponing spays/neuters for a period of even six months can mean that 1,000,000 cats across the country can quickly become 6,000,000 cats as cats can have two litters of kittens during a six month spring/summer period (assumes an average of 3 surviving kittens per litter). Rescues and shelters across the province and the country have made significant inroads in reducing the number of stray/feral cats and alleviating the resulting suffering for these animals. A six month delay in spays/neuters will set overpopulation control back several years while rescues and shelters try to catch up with spaying/neutering/vaccinating the exponential growth.

Veterinarians and rescue/shelter staff across the country and province have put in place procedures to limit exposure to covid 19 including picking up/dropping off animals at the doors of vets/rescues/shelters/properties, wearing masks/gloves, rigorous bleaching/cleaning protocols and maintaining social distancing.  With the easing of PPE shortages across the country and province, we believe resuming spays/neuters for rescues/shelters will have a nominal impact on PPE supply.

Please help reinstate spays/neuters for rescues/shelters to help continue essential work in reducing suffering, pet overpopulation and the growth of covid 19 & other cross species communicable diseases in our environment.