02/21/2013 13:09 EST | Updated 04/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Pet overpopulation at 'crisis' level, says SPCA

Pet owners can look forward to Quebec's first annual spay and neuter day next week.

The Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) hopes that through the awareness campaign and free sterilization programs, it can help reduce pet overpopulation in the province, which it says is at a "crisis level."

As a part of the day, the SPCA will be providing free sterilization for dogs and cats which are owned by young people who frequent Dans La Rue, an organization that works with Montreal youth who are homeless.

"We are sterilizing dogs and cats that belong to street kids who have otherwise probably not been able to afford to sterilize their animal," said Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy at the Montreal SPCA.

Christian Dubois, Montreal's executive committee member responsible for public security, agreed pet overpopulation is a serious issue.

"Animal overpopulation in the city is a pan-Canadian problem from which no city is exempt," he said.

Dubois hopes the new initiative, which takes place on Feb. 26, will help counter the problem.