Wednesday, May 22, 2024
animal welfarehealth and safetyspay and neuter

Five Free Cat or Dog Spay/Neuter Program for City of Pittsburgh Residents

city of pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA on a lovely day (2011).
“We are the country’s most livable city—for our people,” city council president Darlene Harris said, “we should be for our animals too.”

Did you know that City of Pittsburgh residents can receive up to five cat or dog spays and neuters—absolutely free—through the City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program? In February 2012 Pittsburgh’s City Council approved a program sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris that provides vouchers for up to five pets per household to Pittsburgh residents (the city has a limit of five pets per residence). The bill allocated $170,000 toward the program, yet the city spends much more than that in combined animal control costs.

“The numbers of animals we were killing was very sad, I’d rather not bring them into the world if that’s what would happen,” said Harris. “What we were paying per animal to trap and surrender them to a shelter was as much if not more than it cost to spay or neuter them.”

It took several years to determine what would be the best way to manage the situation and Harris visited other cities and worked with the groups who were planning to make Pittsburgh a no-kill city. “We are the country’s most livable city—for our people,” Harris said, “we should be for our animals too.”

Council decided that spaying and neutering pets of city residents will result in reduced costs immediately and into the future. Stray and feral cats maintained outdoors are also included in the program if they are within city limits.

The numbers of cats and dogs picked up by the city’s Animal Care and Control—the name change was part of the plan—has decreased each year since the program began. In 2011, 826 dogs and 1,039 cats were brought in; in 2012, 700 dogs and 1,026 cats; in 2013, 585 dogs and 791 cats. The Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends participate in the program as surgery providers. In 2012 they provided surgery for 171 cats and 188 dogs; in 2013, 393 cats and 244 dogs.

How the program works

Determine residency: This program is available all year round to residents of all neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh. To determine if your neighborhood is within city limits, reference this neighborhood map.

Pet limits: Pet owners are limited to five surgeries per address because the city has a limit of five pets per residence.

Complete the application: Apply by completing an application for each cat or dog. Residents can also apply for feral cats if the colony is in the City of Pittsburgh.

Prove city residence: Pet owners and/or caregivers must prove city residence by showing—

  • two bills with a valid city of Pittsburgh address
  • a driver’s license or equivalent form of identification with a valid city address.

Current vaccinations for the pet: Vaccination records for pets must be up to date prior to surgery and provided with the application.

  • rabies is required by state law
  • vaccines should be completed 7 to 10 days prior to surgery
  • Any animal that cannot have vaccines will be handled on a case by case basis by the shelter partners and other providers.

Additional preparation for dogs only:

  • Dogs must also have a valid City of Pittsburgh dog license.
  • Shelters will not perform surgery on dogs over six years of age without blood work and Veterinary approval for the procedure. Shelters will provide the pre-surgical blood work for an additional fee to determine the health and eligibility of the animal for the City Spay & Neuter Program.

Identification on day of surgery:

  • All dogs must be identified appropriately by wearing their valid city of Pittsburgh dog license and rabies tag on their collar the day of the procedure.
  • All owned cats must be identified appropriately by wearing their rabies tag on their collar the day of the procedure.

Participating shelters: Currently the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania and Animal Friends are participating in this program.

Applicants will be contacted with appointment place, date and time, and pre- and post-surgery instructions.

Caretakers may also purchase a microchip for a pet at the time of surgery for $3.00.

Read more about it, and if you are a City of Pittsburgh resident you can also download an application here:

. . . . . . .

Cats and dogs can go into heat and successfully breed at FOUR MONTHS OF AGE.

You don’t need to wait until a kitten or puppy is six months old to spay or neuter. Pediatric spay and neuter can be performed as young as two months and weighing two pounds. Have the surgery done as soon as possible.


. . . . . . .

Other Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs at Shelters in Allegheny and surrounding counties


Shelter Programs

Animal Friends

Animal Rescue League

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society

Beaver County Humane Society

Washington Area Humane Society


Organizations in Allegheny and surrounding counties

Homeless Cat Management Team, Pittsburgh and southwest Pennsylvania

Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue, Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties

Fluffyjean Fund for Felines, Washington County

Fix Ur Cat, Washington County

Catnip Acres, Greene County, Westmoreland/Indiana Counties, Alle-Kiski Valley (Leechburg)

Kopy Kat Sanctuary, Westmoreland County (Delmont)

Low-cost Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Clinic

Spay Neuter Clinic, Penn Hills, 412-244-1202

For links to other free or low-cost spay and neuter programs searchable by zip code, and for other animal shelters and services, click here to visit Shelters, Assistance, Spay/Neuter.

. . . . . . .

Portions of this article originally appeared in the June issue of Pittsburgh PetConnections.

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3 thoughts on “Five Free Cat or Dog Spay/Neuter Program for City of Pittsburgh Residents

  • We think that is an excellent program.
    We purr that someday more places and countries will adopt something like that 🙂
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

    • Thanks guys! There got to be more information than I could remember so I made a list–and I still carry printed copies with me so I can hand them out to people who may not have a computer.


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