Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

The numbers associated with the Mollie Atwater and Friends Spay/Neuter Fund, the local nonprofit that helps spay and neuter cats and dogs, are impressive even before you do the multiplication.

In 2010 the group helped pay to sterilize 382 animals.

Since its founding in 2006, the Mollie Atwater Fund has contributed to the spaying or neutering of 1,343 dogs and cats in Baker County - 840 of them pets, and 503 feral cats (250 females).

To truly gauge the benefits of this campaign, though, you need to factor in the fecundity of both felines and canines.

The bottom line, after these calculations have been made, is that due

to the Mollie Atwater Fund several thousand kittens and puppies have

not been thrust into an environment that's poorly suited to accommodate


This is especially true of feral cats.

Left to fend for themselves, some die of malnutrition or exposure.

They're also susceptible to diseases, which they can spread to pets.

To survive, feral cats sometimes prey on songbirds.

And, perhaps more annoying to homeowners, stray cats and dogs leave messes in flower beds and yards.

Ultimately, preventing unwanted litters is not only a matter of

compassion, it's also about maintaining the quality of life in Baker


There are bigger problems, to be sure - crime, for instance.

Yet as problems go, the proliferation of cats and dogs can be remedied, in a meaningful way, with comparative ease.

It just requires dedicated volunteers and generous contributors.

Mollie Atwater and Friends, fortunately, has both.