The Garden City Telegram
11/4/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Spay day

Clinic helps humane society work toward reversing trend.

The Finney County Humane Society's recent effort to rein in a growing number of strays and other abandoned dogs and cats generated an impressive response.

Through the Spay Today Mobile Outreach, the humane society brought a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic to town. The response was enthusiastic, as local residents snatched up the 120 available appointments, and the clinic ended up with an even longer waiting list.

Plans for return visits from the mobile clinic are in the works. That's good, considering the need in a community currently left to euthanize an extraordinary number of animals.

Too many pet owners, whether uneducated on the issue or simply irresponsible, continue to contribute to a sad situation that also comes at a cost to the public in animal control expense.

Efforts to encourage responsible pet ownership may be missed by some, especially in a diverse community where communication can be a problem.

And, considering the cost of a spay or neuter procedure can run about $150, having a pet sterilized may not be an option for some local families. It helped to give pet owners strapped for cash an affordable option for the service.

The surge of pet owners at the recent low-cost clinic also brought proof of humane society volunteers having more success with ongoing efforts to educate the public on the importance of spaying or neutering their pets.

The local clinic was part of a mission by a Colorado-based veterinary team, which started an animal health care program that evolved into a low-cost spay and neuter program, along with wellness initiatives. A walk-in vaccination clinic for both cats and dogs, as well as microchipping services, also were available locally.

The Colorado team target areas where people might not have adequate resources for veterinary care. Credit the local humane society and city/county animal shelter for working with them on the spay-neuter program.

All involved know too many animals end up in the shelter and eventually must be destroyed. Greater access to low-cost spay and neuter services was the kind of development needed locally to help reverse the troubling trend.