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February 20, 2007 > Need a Fix?

Need a Fix?

By Nancy Lyon

In 2006, close to 5,000 animals were impounded at the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont. Of this number, it's a tragic fact that 2,045 didn't make it out of the front door. This percentage is probably comparable or higher in other area municipal shelters because the sheer number of animals impounded force shelters to look to euthanization as an option when all else fails.

Is it really the shelters who are the Bad Guys? Or is it the pet guardians who for various reasons allows their animals to reproduce without thought to what will be their probable future?

One of the villains is the continuing rise in veterinary cost of pet sterilization that often puts the option of sterilization surgery financially out of reach for many people. Because of the millions of companion animals killed in shelters annually, a campaign was started in 1995 by the Doris Day Foundation to make affordable sterilization of pets within the reach of everyone - to this end Spay Day USA was born! Since that time, the organization has combined efforts with the Humane Society of the United States and has continued to grow.

HSUS states that the main objective of Spay Day USA is to inspire as many people as possible to have their companion animals-or another animal in need-spayed or neutered in conjunction with the campaign. Other objectives include raising money to provide spay/neuters for animals whose caretakers need assistance, and informing people of the urgency and necessity of spaying or neutering their pets.

Spay Day events often involve the distribution of sterilization vouchers for animals to be spayed or neutered at a later date and most event organizers offer discounted or free spay/neuters. In particular, this service is offered, to low-income pet owners, homeless shelter animals awaiting adoption, or feral cat colony caretakers. Across the nation efforts have focused on providing spay/neuter services and to promote spay/neuter as an essential component of good companion animal health care, as well as an effective and humane means of decreasing the euthanasia of homeless animals in shelters.

From its inception 12 years ago Spay Day USA's participants have spayed or neutered an estimated 1,366,000 animals! When you consider that an unspayed cat can give birth to 18 kittens each year and an unspayed dog can give birth to 20 puppies each year, and that the average cost for shelters to handle each homeless animal is $176, it's clear that Spay Day USA participants have, potentially, prevented millions of surplus births and saved millions of taxpayers' dollars.

Spay Day USA usually occurs in the last week of February, or just on the last Tuesday of February. However, a generous veterinary clinic has offered its time and resources to participate even more by extending Spay Day USA to Spay Week USA.
The ForPaws Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fremont, owned and operated by Evonne Phelps of the Nike Animal Rescue Foundation (NARF) has offered to expand their usual two surgery days a week schedule to an entire week in the spirit of Spay Day USA.
Because of its designation as a not-for-profit clinic, ForPaws operates exclusively through non-profit organizations such as Ohlone Humane Society that has partnered with them since their beginning. Their services focus on the sterilization of companion dogs and cats, and feral cats. They also offer limited additional services at time of surgery such as vaccinations, feline leukemia/AIDS testing and microchip ID implantation.

During Spay "Week," February 26 through March 2, low-cost and occasional no-cost spay/neuter services will be available through several local animal welfare groups partnering with ForPaws Clinic in the campaign to stop the suffering and working toward ending the animal over-population tragedy. Contact any of the following participants for help:

Ohlone Humane Society - Judy Canright at 510-440-1676
Dogs and cats (including feral cats from individual caretakers)

NARF - Evonne Phelps at 925-862-0301
Dogs (with special consideration for large breeds and Pit Bulls)

Purrfect Cat Rescue - Jennifer Wargo at 510-739-1597
Cats (including ferals)

OK people - help is out there and available, no excuses!

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