Last month, we introduced our free in-house spay and neuter program for community-owned pets. Since its launch, our clinic team has provided over 200 pets this service at no cost to the families in our service area, and we are on track to spay and neuter over 500 pets through the remainder of 2021.
Back in 2012, we established our first-ever community-focused spay and neuter initiative in response to the ongoing pet overpopulation issues plaguing residents and high euthanasia rate of strays by the local municipal shelter who were having to put down 75 percent of their nearly 10,000 annual intakes. In 2015, one of our dedicated volunteers, Deanna started managing the program and quickly realized that a major barrier for families was transportation. With this in mind, we acquired a full-size conversion van to provide courtesy same-day home pick-up and return from the vet after surgery. From administrative responsibilities to providing aftercare support, Deanna has managed nearly every aspect of our spay and neuter program, which has provided this service to over 1,600 community-owned pets since its inception. In the same year, under Deanna’s leadership, we also established an internal TNR (trap-neuter-release) program to address the growing community cat population. Because of the tenacity and commitment of volunteers like Deanna, over 1,300 community cats went through the TNR program since 2015.
Moving this program in-house is a game changer as it allows us to be so much more efficient, which means we have the capacity to spay and neuter more pets. As we typically have a waiting list, we can reduce the amount of time pets have to wait by doing procedures in-house. With the implementation of these community-focused programs, the local municipal shelter is currently intaking less than 2,000 pets annually and euthanizing less than 10 percent. By providing barrier-free access to spay and neuter services, we are reducing the cycle of animal homelessness and providing equitable access to lifesaving care to our pet welfare community.
Thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation for awarding us a grant to support this program, which will help us fund the spay and neuter of over 400 dogs and cats!