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Save-A-Pet launches affordable spay/neuter program

BY: Metro Source Staff | January 28, 2013

Save-A-Pet is launching an “Affordable Spay/Neuter Project,” a program that offers a low-cost spay/neuter option for cats and dogs owned by income-eligible residents of Niagara County. This effort is made possible through a generous $20,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®. The goal of the project is to help those who simply cannot afford to have their pets “fixed.”

Niagara County residents meeting an income requirement set by the ASPCA guidelines can have a cat or multiple cats spayed or neutered for only $15 per cat. Spay/neutering for dogs owned by income-eligible Niagara County residents is offered for only $25 per dog.

To qualify for Save-A-Pet’s extremely low-cost spay/neuter program, a pet’s owner must show proof of Niagara County residency and proof of participating in one of the following programs: food stamps; supplemental security income for the aged, blind and disabled; low-income housing assistance; HEAP; unemployment benefits; family assistance; safety-net assistance or medical assistance.

Full details and information on how to sign up is available on Save-A-Pet’s website, www.saveapetniagara.com or by calling 559-3020, ext. 5.

“Now, more than ever, Save-A-Pet is thrilled to have this ASPCA grant opportunity to address the pet overpopulation problem,” said Save-A-Pet’s President Chris Halvorson. “While we are thrilled that the Niagara SPCA and several wonderful local rescue groups now all have no-kill policies for pets in their shelter and foster homes, we’ve seen an increase of another problem. When no-kill organizations are full – and we all fill up quickly – we have to turn surrenders away or put them on a waiting list. People who have an urgent need to surrender their pet often abandon or dump the pet, which means sometimes our good intentions are sometimes literally leaving animals out in the cold. The truth is, no matter how many animals we adopt out, we can’t adopt our way out of the problem of the surplus of unwanted pets. We need to stop that surplus at its source.”

Save-A-Pet has been a no-kill pet rescue organization since its incorporation in 1977. In recent years, in addition to an active adoption program, Save-A-Pet’s volunteers have organized spay/neuter clinics for privately-owned cats by working with a local veterinarian who offered very moderate prices. The additional clinics made possible by the ASPCA grant follow ASPCA guidelines to offer even more affordable aid to people who simply can’t afford to have their pets “fixed” any other way.

Jane Voelpel, Save-A-Pet’s Treasurer, is one of the volunteers involved in organizing the clinics.

“We are concentrating on Niagara County residents,” she said. “We would especially like to get the word out to those in lower-income housing areas, where we see clusters of litters of kittens every spring. No one likes that situation, so this is a golden opportunity for folks to take advantage of this offer, and to tell their neighbors and help spread the word. We’ve even added an extra ‘mailbox’ to our phone line in the hopes that we’ll be flooded with calls.”

The goal of Save-A-Pet’s Affordable Spay/Neuter Project is to spay/neuter 200 pets in 2013.

“We owe an enormous thanks to the local veterinarians who have agreed to work for reduced fees on this project and to Operation Pets, who will handle much of the clinical work for cats,” said Halvorson. “They’re making it possible for us to spread our grant funds to help as many pet owners as possible. The ASPCA has also been wonderful to work with. They’ll continue to offer grants to rescue groups and shelters who want to develop low-cost spay/neuter programs.”

This grant was administered through the New York State Animal Population Control Program , a low-cost spay/neuter granting program managed by the ASPCA on behalf of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Funds are garnered from pet licensing fees collected by towns, which are then sent to the state.

Quarterly, the state sends these funds to the ASPCA to be granted out specifically toward low-cost spay/neuter programming.

The ASPCA is still accepting applications, and organizations can apply for these grants by visiting the ASPCA’s grants website.

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2013-01-30 | 17:23:02
Spay/neuter is a very important aspect of the No Kill Equation. And bringing affordable spay/neuter to persons of lower incomes is particularly needed. But I must object to any implication that pet overpopulation is because people went to a shelter, were put on a waitlist, then dumped their animal. And this grant would not have any impact on that, since it doesn't cover abandoned street animals. The reason for waitlisting is to control shelter populations so as to prevent killing for space, as well as to prevent disease outbreaks that can be associated with shelter overcrowding.