Help from Paradise

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

PARADISE, Calif.––Retired
physicist Bob Plumb, now a director of the
Promoting Animal Welfare Society in
Paradise, California, is developing spreadsheet
planning models with help from pet
demographer Karen Johnson of the
National Pet Alliance, into which animal
control and shelter directors can plug whatever
dog and cat population data they have
from their community to project the probable
perimeters of data they don’t have, to
help focus budgets and programs.
For instance, Plumb says, “If we
have 100 cats, half male, a three-year
average lifespan and an average litter size
of four, then each year we need to catch
and kill or adopt out 247 cats to stay at 100.
The yearly cost, at $70 per animal,” the
U.S. norm, “is $17,306. It costs $2,660 to
spay 38 female cats at the start of the year,”
Plumb continues. This is enough to keep
the birth rate equal to normal attrition, “if
we do four more spays each year. The
yearly cost of the spaying needed to maintain
the population, after start-up costs are
paid, is $280.”

Put thusly, Plumb believes, it
will be easier to persuade public officials to
invest in neutering. A bonus: if all the cats
spend equal time outdoors, the neutering
approach halves the toll on songbirds.
Backing projections with cash,
PAWS put $50,685 into subsidized neutering
during the first six months of 1996––
and local animal control data indicates “kitten
season” just didn’t happen in Paradise
and nearby Chico. Of the pet owners
assisted, Plumb learned, 29% were on Aid
to Families with Dependent Children; 24%
were employed at minimum wage; and
22% were on Social Security. “Welfare
applicants were a very small number, indicating
we are still missing the very poor,”
Plumb said. For all the math, write Plumb
at 488 Pearson Road, Paradise, CA

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