Our View: Countywide low-cost spay and neuter program worth effort

Our View
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Ask just about any animal lover working in a rescue shelter or a clinic and they’ll tell you the same thing. That despite any philosophical differences about whether they want to focus on saving unwanted dogs or make it their sole mission to find homes for kittens, they ultimately want one thing — they want to stop the killing. Animal rescue volunteers are doing a wonderful job, but they can’t do it alone. That’s why there needs to be an organized, county-run effort to nip animal overpopulation in the bud. Recent Journal stories have highlighted the animal overpopulation in Placer County. Rescue shelters have more cats than cages and staff at the city’s low-cost spay and neuter clinic work at least 10-hour days getting to as many animals as they can safely. In the Auburn area alone there are at least five nonprofit animal rescue groups all opening their arms and hearts to abandoned pets. They work tirelessly, and many work for free, to ensure that a new furry friend isn’t alone or hungry. But there is only so much space, only so much time and only so much money that can be used or raised to help the homeless animal population. That’s why rescue volunteers and staff, veterinarians and clinic workers all stress the importance of spay and neuter surgeries. And it’s reason enough for there to be a massive, countywide effort to offer low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to residents and their animals companions. According to Kristy McCamy, a veterinarian at Edgewood Veterinary Clinic in Auburn, while pet owners should be cautious when choosing to have their pet undergo an elective procedure, there are certainly benefits to that choice. McCamy said the procedure could alter aggressive behavior in some male animals and prevent other female pets from developing cancer. But spay and neuter surgery isn’t necessarily easy to book or pay for. Veterinary clinics offer the service and recommended tests that check a pet’s health pre-procedure, but prices can start at $100 and go up from there. The Animal Spay and Neuter Clinic in Auburn is certainly a low-cost option but it can be difficult to squeeze in to an appointment. The clinic uses two veterinarians and support staff. They try and fit in as many cat and dog surgeries as they can, but safety comes first, said clinic manager Dede Shaw. “Believe me, we get yelled at,” Shaw told the Journal earlier this month. “I’m grateful people want to get their animal spayed or neutered but I can only do a certain number of animals safely.” Shaw estimated that by the end of this year, her clinic will spay or neuter about 13,000 animals. She further speculated that the number will grow in the years to come. “The idea is to keep this going forever because the need isn’t changing,” Shaw said. And the best way to meet that need is to increase low-cost spay and neuter services through private or public funding – or a combination of the two. Animal shelters, rescue groups and the clinic have all been successful in securing spay and neuter grants. The grants either pay for low-income residents’ pets or let shelters send animal owners to local veterinarians with a surgery voucher. Can the county tap into this grant funding to help subsidize the cost of running its own low-cost spay and neuter services? Together, the county and animal rescue nonprofits can reverse the trend. The upfront, start-up costs may seem large but in the long run the cost saving would be worth it. It would be less time animal control officers spend trapping stray animals. It would mean less cats and dogs crowding shelters and less money spent euthanizing animals that do not have a home. In this economy, every bit of savings is helpful. And each animal life saved is helping rescue groups reach their goal of finding a home for every pet. ---------------------------- Want to spay or neuter your pet? What: The Animal Spay and Neuter clinic, a nonprofit, offers low-cost surgeries for cats and dogs. Where: 3524 K.O.A. Way, Auburn Surgeries & Vaccines: Tuesdays, Wednesday s and Thursdays. Cat and dog arrival times 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and pick up time is between 4 and 5 p.m. Vaccines do not need an appointment and are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Call: (530) 889-8800 Visit: