Carousing critters will see their cruising days come to an end as the city’s animal shelter yesterday opened a new veterinary clinic.

The 2,500-square-foot addition to the city’s Animal and Bylaw Services facility will perform spay and neuter operations as well as other minor surgeries to help reduce the number of unwanted pets in Calgary.

Animal services boss Bill Bruce said the clinic, which saw its $1.8-million price tag primarily funded through cat licensing, will help drop the euthanization rate at the shelter and ensure strays are in good health.

“Nothing leaves here as an adopted animal without being spayed or neutered,” he said.

“This will allow us to provide services faster without having to work with a private clinic.”

Bruce said by the end of this year or early 2010, the clinic will be used to provide free spaying and neutering on dogs and cats for low-income Calgarians.

Since the city required mandatory cat licensing, the euthanization rate has narrowed from 37 per cent in 2006 to only 18 per cent last year, with more than half now returned to their owners.