We’ve all heard the spay & neuter message for years. From celebrities like Bob Barker & Pamela Anderson, to national animal welfare organizations, to our own local shelters and rescues.
It has been proven that one of the keys to ending the killing of adoptable pets and feral cats is high volume, low/no cost spay & neuter services. Unfortunately, Harford County lacks a comprehensive program for spay & neuter. The programs that exist in the county (Harford Animal Sterilization Program aka HASP, SNAP Inc, & Project Catsnip) are a step in the right direction, but they are far from comprehensive. Two of the existing programs don’t provide coverage for the complete procedure (vaccinations, blood work, dogs over 50lbs, pain killers, etc are not covered), one is only available to seniors and families on government assistance (or those who adopt from the county shelter), one doesn’t cover dogs, and one requires taking your pet to a vet office that is out of state.
In an ideal community, a community that wanted to save every possible life, a spay/neuter program would be:
- LOW/NO COST – Making spay & neuter affordable for low and middle income families accomplishes two things. It allows people feeling the pressure of one of the worst economic environments in history to do the right thing by giving them a way to spay/neuter their pets without a financial strain. It also increases the number of potential households for adoptable pets by giving options to people who may have not considered adopting an animal due to the cost.
- MOBILE – While dropping off and picking up at a veterinarians office may be something that many take for granted, it’s not a trivial task for a large number of families with the greatest need for assistance. Many families may have only one car or no car, other families may be working long hours trying to make ends meet, and for others child care may be an issue. These obstacles make a mobile spay/neuter clinic (or a pick up and drop off service) an important part of any spay/neuter program.
- RELATIONSHIP BASED – A program designed to help those in need has a unique opportunity to build relationships with the people and families that may need assistance with their pet in the future. A good spay/neuter program has a relationship with the families it helps and is available to provide pet retention assistance down the road.
- HIGH VOLUME – Of course, in any community the goal should be to spay/neuter as many animals as possible.
So that’s what we’re going to do. No Kill Harford will work to bring a program that does all of these things and more to Harford County. We’re starting from ground zero so it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen because it has to. At our Stand Up For Harford Pets meeting on January 25th, we will talk more about “FIX HARFORD”, our plan for providing a comprehensive low/no cost spay & neuter program in Harford County and how YOU can help!