FEB. 2016 NEWSLETTER        


It is the spay/neuter arm of AWS.  

Founded in Portland in 1971, the Cleo Fund was the first organization in Maine to recognize the importance of spaying and neutering pets. What started as a fundraising effort to help spay Cleo, a stray dog that had recently given birth to 10 puppies, turned into a non-profit organization dedicated to helping income-qualified individuals afford spay/neuter surgeries for their pets.

In 2012, the Cleo Fund selected the Animal Welfare Society to carry on its mission. The merger created the largest spay/neuter organization in Maine, allowing the Cleo Fund to expand its reach state-wide. Under AWS, the Cleo Fund established a voucher program, redeemable at participating veterinarians throughout the state. The veterinarian discounts the surgery, the client pays a small co-pay, and the Cleo Fund pays the remaining balance. If the cat is feral, the Cleo Fund covers the entire cost of the surgery.

 The Cleo Fund advocates the importance of spay/neuter funding, puts on educational seminars, organizes spay/neuter clinics throughout the state, and offers resources and services to feral cats and their caretakers in Southern Maine.
It saves lives. Period.

Pets that have been altered live happier, healthier, longer lives. Males that have been neutered fight less, roam less, and are less territorial. Females that have been spayed are at a reduced risk of getting reproductive cance rs. They do not go in and out of heat or give birth to unwanted litters. Pets that have been altered are more attentive to their human families.   In short, it's the humane thing to do. 

Spaying and neutering reduces the number of unwanted animals, lowering the burden on animal shelters.  This recent article in the Bangor Daily News credits the Cleo Fund with reducing cat overpopulation in Aroostook County.

An unsocialized cat living outdoors is feral.

A feral cat is a cat that has not been socialized by humans and thus is fearful of them. Socialization occurs in the early week's of a cat's life. During this period, kittens that are held and cared for by humans become receptive to them and to other pets. Early and regular socialization is the key to helping the offspring of a feral cat to become a house pet.  In most cases, adult feral cats cannot become house pets as they lacked the socialization as kittens and will never be trusting, purring lap cats.

Feral cats survive outdoors by seeking food, water and shelter. They tend to live in colonies near humans and don't venture too far from their home turf. They often search for food in dumpsters or seek shelter in outbuildings. Feral females that are not spayed give birth to litters, increasing the colony size and increasing the number of cats seeking limited resources. 

Kind folks with feral colonies on their properties can become caretakers to help feral cats. But how? This is where the Cleo Fund comes in!
It provides resources to aid feral cat caretakers.

The most important way to help feral cats is to fix them. This will create a healthier environment for the colony by limiting its size. With a managed colony, feral cat caretakers can better provide food, water and shelter. The cats will fight less as resources will be less scarce and they will be happier, healthier and safer.

The Cleo Fund provides spay/neuter surgeries to York County area ferals at no cost to the caretaker. A rabies vaccine is also administered. After recovering from surgery in AWS' new feral cat recovery shed, cats are either returned to their colony, relocated to another colony or, if they are unwanted, released to Margie's Cat Cabin, AWS' feral cat colony on the shelter's property.

Humanely trapping a feral cat can be a difficult accomplishment so the Cleo Fund relies on the expertise of Kathy Deschambault, Feral Cat Specialist. Kathy inventories the cats in a colony by quietly and carefully watching them and tracking their movements. She sets quiet, humane traps, baited with delicious tuna or salmon and waits for the cat. It can often take months to track and trap an entire colony so patience and diligence are two of Kathy's strengths. 

To learn more about Kathy and the feral cat trapping program, please check out this Kennebunk Post  article from a few months ago.

The Cleo Fund loans out humane traps to folks in York County who are willing and able to trap a cat themselves. Though the Cleo Fund focuses much of its feral cat efforts on York County, Feral Cat Specialist Kathy is available for consultation via telephone for caretakers in the other 15 counties. This map shows the colonies the Cleo Fund has assisted with throughout the state!

The Cleo Fund works with feral cat caretakers in York County to ensure they have proper shelters for the cats on their property. The Cleo Fund works with local animal control officers to construct simple, safe and effective feral cat houses which are available at no-cost (though donations are always welcomed).  Local high school tech ed and industrial arts classes aid in the construction, done with donated materials. This article from the York County Coast Star highlights some shelters made by Wells Junior High students two winters ago.

On the AWS website, find  blueprints for folks interested in constructing a feral cat house themselves.
Follow the AWS/Cleo Fund on Facebook!


In honor of World Spay Day, support the Cleo Fund with a gift. With your help, the Cleo Fund can save the lives of even more cats in need.
AWS/Cleo Fund
PO Box 607
W. Kennebunk, ME 04094


These plates are a great way to show your love for animals! Proceeds from these plates support the state's spay/neuter program called Help Fix ME and help fund state animal cruelty investigations.
On your Maine State Tax Form, check the box called 
Companion Animal Sterilization Fund. This voluntary contribution supports spay/neuter efforts throughout the state !

Special-needs pets tend to spend longer at the shelter and we would love for them to be home this Valentine's Day!  They may need a little extra attention -- medical care, special diet, extra training -- but they make loving, wonderful pets.

Please visit our website for pictures and bios of all our available pets!
11 years old, Male, Shepherd/Chow

1 1/2 years old, Male, Pit Bull Mix

12 years old, Female, Short Hair

9 years old, Female, Short Hair

February is Adopt A Rescue Rabbit month.  If you've ever thought of sharing your home with a  hippity-hopping, fuzzy-tailed, floppy-eared friend, please give us a call. 
We would love to chat with you about bunnies!
The big weekend is here!
In addition to the cats already onsite at PetSmart, AWS will have dogs available for adoption.  AWS staff and volunteers are eager to assist you as adoptions can be completed right in the store!  

Friday, Feb. 12th
: 4 pm - 8 pm (cats only)
Saturday, Feb. 13th: 9 am - 12 noon (dogs & cats)
Sunday, Feb. 14th: 10 am - 1 pm (dogs & cats)

The list of pets going to the event will be available on our website soon!


In next month's e-newsletter, learn about AWS' awesome community programs and amazing community partners, such as the Canine Community Corps. CCC is dedicated to promoting rescue, dignity and service among three populations: prison inmates, military veterans and shelter dogs.


Mailing Address: PO Box 43, West Kennebunk, ME 04094
Physical Address: 46 Holland Road, Kennebunk

Open for adoptions and visits
Monday & Tuesday:  11 - 4:30
   Thursday & Friday:  11 - 4:30
   Saturday & Sunday:  11 - 4:30
   Closed Wednesdays