In light of World Spay and Neuter Day on Tuesday, the Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) is urging the public to spay and neuter their pets. The local organization has helped thousands of animals across the Okanagan Valley. And to date, OHS has spayed or neutered more than 25,000 local animals and counting.“Most of our mission work and funding goes directly to spaying and neutering animals in our community,” said OHS Volunteer Board president Romany Runnalls in the press release.“We rescue animals and support low cost spay neuter programs through partner veterinarians for families experiencing income hardship and having difficulty affording spay and neuter services for pets; along with also ensuring our community animals are fixed to be a part of the solution to pet overpopulation.” Story continues below advertisement Thousands of kittens are born each year in the Okanagan and the society says it’s especially difficult to keep the population down in rural and farm areas.“(We) have had some great success getting a handle on the city cat populations in the bigger urban areas where we have more veterinary partners and volunteers but are still working very hard at getting the populations down in rural areas and small towns,” said Runnalls.A large part of the society’s work includes capturing, sterilizing and rehoming homeless, stray and feral cats and kittens.Runnalls says spaying and neutering animals can help keep the population in check.“Life for many of these animals is terrible. These helpless cats and kittens have had to learn to live on their own and find enough resources from people feeding them outside, and survive the harsh seasons,” said Runnalls.“Their lives are fraught with danger and risk almost always ending in an untimely and tragic death from car strikes, disease, frigid temperatures, or predation.” Trending Now According to the society, not spaying or neutering your animal can also put their health at serious risk.“A condition called pyometra. This is an extremely painful and common condition that can happen in unfixed female animals due to bacteria entering the uterus during their ‘heat’ cycles. If not immediately removed this can cause certain death from infection flooding the abdomen and blood,” read the OHS press release. Story continues below advertisement “Just as important is neutering male animals — neutering can prevent this very common and potentially deadly condition if it is not caught and treated within hours of a cat becoming ‘blocked’.” 1:51 The Okanagan Humane Society has its busiest year yet For pet owners, these illnesses can cost four to five times more than a normal spay or neuter.“It’s much better to get your animals spayed or neutered before you’re in an emergency, desperate situation with your animal,” she said.Meanwhile, the organization currently has over 100 animals in their care.The group runs solely on a volunteer-based foster program and can take in more animals than most shelters in the Okanagan. The society is urging pet owners to not just spay or neuter their pets but is also asking for donations in order to continue their work. Story continues below advertisement “We do not receive government funding with the exception of a BC Community Gaming Grant, and are reliant on support for the community,” states OHS Fund Development adviser Marni Adams in a press release.“The generosity of our community and supporters have allowed us to answer the needs even with the huge increase we have seen.” 1:42 Okanagan Humane Society holds fundraiser to meet growing demand © 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.