The Cleo Fund Selects the Animal Welfare Society to Carry On Its Mission of Spay/Neuter in Maine

Merger Creates the Largest Private Spay/Neuter Organization in the State

May 17, 2013, 10:13 ET from Animal Welfare Society

WEST KENNEBUNK, Maine, May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cleo Fund today announced that it has selected the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk to carry on its mission of spay/neuter. The merger of the two organizations creates the largest private spay/neuter organization in Maine.

For more than 40 years, the Cleo Fund has worked to provide spay and neuter surgeries to low-income Mainers by providing subsidies to those that qualify. In its history, the Cleo Fund has provided funding for more than 40,000 surgeries in Southern Maine.

The Cleo Fund began in 1971, when a large, all black, mixed Airedale-Poodle was found abandoned in Portland. Picked up as a stray, she was taken to the animal shelter, where she soon gave birth to ten puppies. Details of the incident were printed in the local newspaper, resulting in a call to the pound identifying the dog as "Cleo"; however, no information was given about the dog's owner. Through the efforts of an employee of the shelter, funds were solicited from friends and Cleo was spayed in January 1972.

The newspaper article resulted in cash donations for Cleo. This money was used for spaying other dogs and cats from various shelters in the area, placing them in foster homes and eventually finding permanent homes for them.

"Founder, Mary Scott, was on the forefront of animal welfare in Maine," said Steve Jacobsen, executive director of the Animal Welfare Society, and now the Cleo Fund. "There weren't too many people thinking about homeless animals in the early 70s, much less thinking about ways to prevent overpopulation and doing something about it."

"The well-being of animals was of utmost concern to my mother," said Steven Scott, founder Mary Scott's son. "No matter the circumstances that pets came from, my mother always said 'it's the animal that counts' and she would do what she could to help the animal. Throughout the 40 years this Fund has been in existence, more than 40,000 animals have been spayed or neutered and at least that many placed in new homes when the Cleo Fund also served as a pet placement agency. I know that my mother's years of work and commitment have made a difference in this state simply by the number of animals that we don't see. Maine would be a far different place if it weren't for my mother's foresight and progressive thinking in the early 70s."

On January 1, 2013, assets were transferred to the Animal Welfare Society for continuation of the Fund and its mission. "We have been delighted that so many veterinarians have already expressed interest in helping us to further the Cleo Fund," said Sharon Secovich the Fund's new coordinator at AWS. "It's a testament to the years of dedication by Mary Scott, Betty Moberg and other volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make spay/neuter an option for all animals."

"We chose the Animal Welfare Society to continue the important work of my mother because of their demonstrated commitment to spay and neuter in the state," said Scott. "They have shown time and time again that they understand the sheer importance of this work through their efforts in offering a long-time voucher program to the public and building an in-house, low-cost clinic.  AWS has long been a key player in spay/neuter efforts and driving change, while managing an excellent shelter operation.  We felt that AWS would be a good fit to continue the work of the Cleo Fund." 

Those interested in scheduling a spay or neuter through the Fund should call 207-773-6221 to see if they qualify.

SOURCE Animal Welfare Society