Local News

Paws for Thought: Striving for no more homeless pets

By From page A3 | February 19, 2013

Lily is home at last! After being surrendered by her former owner, and deemed too “skittish” for adoption, this four-pound Chihuahua was fostered until Amy McGuire and Brian Wallace adopted her into their loving, dog-friendly West Sacramento home. Courtesy photo

We all want to live in a community where animals as well as people are treated humanely, right? The problem is what to do about all the homeless animals.

Since 1991, Best Friends Animal Society of Utah has declared a goal of “No More Homeless Pets.” At that time, 15 million cats and dogs were euthanized annually in the United States. That number decreased to about 3 million in 2011. Although that’s 3 million too many, it’s still a significant reduction in the euthanasia rate.

According to Inga Fricke, director of sheltering and pet care issues at The Humane Society of the United States, spaying and neutering pets is largely responsible for the reduction in euthanasia rates. For example, today, animal shelters and rescues routinely alter pets — yes, even puppies and kittens — before they go to their new homes.

“Free” pets, of course, are not really free because they are rarely altered, a surgery that can cost several hundred dollars. Also, there are the costs of vaccinations and a microchip, to say nothing of feeding and caring for your pet over the years.

The Sacramento Area Animal Coalition, Yolo County SPCA and Yolo County Animal Services are committed to reducing pet overpopulation through low-cost spay/neuter programs. Here are several options for Yolo County residents:

Spay Day, March 3: Families who earn less than $35,000 per year qualify to have their pets altered, microchipped, vaccinated and given flea prevention. The cost is $15 per cat or $20 per dog. Make an appointment at www.sacanimal.org.

* Sacramento Area Animal Coalition vouchers: Families who earn less than $35,000 per year qualify for spay/neuter vouches costing $10 for a cat or $15 for a dog. This program runs most of the year. Go to www.sacanimal.org for details.

* Yolo County SPCA: Families of any income can have their cat altered for $10 to $30, depending on gender and age. Contact Jill at [email protected] or 530-902-6267.

Community Cat Clinics: For feral cats, a $15 alteration fee includes vaccines. Locations include Sacramento and Natomas. Go to yolospca.org or sspca.org, or email [email protected].

While we have come a long way in combating pet overpopulation, there is still much to be done to achieve Best Friends’ goal of “No More Homeless Pets.” Increasing the availability of low-cost spay/neuter options in Yolo County will help move us closer to achieving this humane goal.

Happy Tails: Lily, a bubbly, loving four-pound Chihuahua, was surrendered to the Solano County Animal Shelter by her owner and then deemed “unadoptable” because she was too skittish. Fortunately, Lily was rescued and fostered for one month and is now the newest member of the dog-loving household of Amy McGuire and Brian Wallace.

Amy writes, “Lily, which is short for Lilliputian, has become an outstanding pet and has added so much to our quality of life with her goofy antics and loving ways — she is a world-class cuddle. We could not imagine life without her!”

Ways to help animals in need: Help Yolo County SPCA and the environment by recycling electronic waste at the SPCA Thrift Store, Third and I streets in downtown Davis, or donating your old car and getting a tax write-off. For details, go to yolospca.org and look in the donation section.

Thrift store volunteers are also needed to organize items and keep things humming. Interested? Contact the store volunteer coordinator, Romina Munoz, at [email protected] or 530-758-0544, or stop by the store.

— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare; her column is published monthly. Contact her at [email protected]

Evelyn Dale

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