Cheryl Wicks: Pet overpopulation is a crisis right here in Nevada County | TheUnion.com
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Cheryl Wicks: Pet overpopulation is a crisis right here in Nevada County

Sammie’s Friends is in a crisis right now. Why? Many people do not see the need to spay/neuter their animals. Litters are born and discarded and we end up with them. We are a no-kill shelter so we work tremendously hard to find them all homes. We have 236 cats at the moment and should have no more than 80.

People find two-day-old kittens in their mailbox that someone else has discarded. A bag of chihuahua puppies was found along the side of the road. A three-week-old kitten sitting in the middle of the road drenched from the rain was found. Someone threw their puppy out into the road at Combie/Wolf and Highway 49. Fortunately a quick-thinking woman jumped out and grabbed the pup before it was run over. The pup was in a bag tied shut so it couldn’t even run off. Every single day we see these tragedies.

During kitten season, which is from April until October, it is chaos every day with the litters coming in and many needing to be bottle fed. All completely vulnerable. Our foster parents, staff and volunteers are worn to a frazzle. All of this because pets are not spayed/neutered.



Human beings are the caretakers of these domesticated animals and overall we need to step it up. Any person who allows an unwanted litter to be born should be responsible for those animals. Truly there should not even be a need for an animal shelter. But then there shouldn’t be a need for foster homes for unwanted children either. It is heartbreaking to see what all of us in rescue see every day.

We do not receive the pampered pooches and kitties of the world. We see the ones who have not had veterinary care and have broken bones, hernias, cancer with tumors on their bodies, and who are sick or injured. Those who should have helped them did not.




Every year around 4,000,000 animals are euthanized in animal shelters because there are no homes for these animals. This brings me to the point — if they had never been born, there would be no need to euthanize them. If everyone got their pets spayed/neutered we would not have this overpopulation.

Since 2011 Sammie’s Friends has raised over $225,000 to have 6,666 animals spayed/neutered in this community in the last six years. In addition, Pound Puppy Rescue pays for any chihuahua, pit bull, husky or malamute to be spayed/neutered. That amounts to well over a 1,000 animals. AnimalSave and the Animal Spay/Neuter Clinic in Auburn are both non-profit low cost clinics. AnimalSave has spayed/neutered near 16,000 animals in the past 10 years.

With all of the services available to help low income families get their animals spayed/neutered there is just no reason to wait another minute to do this. To end this tragic existence for so many animals. Cats can get pregnant as young as five months old and dogs at eight or 10 months. This is like your 11-year-old daughter getting pregnant. It’s just plain awful for the cat or dog, as it would be for a very young girl. Please find your kindest, most compassionate self and do the right thing to help end this misery for the animals — spay and neuter every single pet.

Please help the animals by contacting Sammie’s Friends 530-471-5041, Pound Puppy Rescue 530-272-1716, AnimalSave 530-271-7071 or the Animal Spay/Neuter Clinic 530-889-8800.

Cheryl Wicks is the co-founder and president of Sammie’s Friends.


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