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female pets consists of the removal of the ovaries and uterus (though sometimes just the ovaries). Low-cost spay/neuter clinics are equipped with all the equipment necessary to perform the surgeries with the same quality of service as any non-subsidized veterinary clinic. “In fact,” says Barthelemy with POP-NC, “our veterinarians are spay/neuter specialists.”


Both POP-NC and SNAP-NC, as well as many rescue organizations, veterinary offices, and shelters in the Triangle area, participate in a successful voucher program called THE $20 FIX, managed by the non-profit organization AnimalKind, Inc. Through this program, qualified low-income pet owners in five Triangle counties


the solution of voluntary pet spay/neuter assistance.” Without government assistance, services such as THE $20 FIX may not have sufficient funds to operate. “In most North Carolina counties, the most critical need ‘education on the issue’ continues to be with county decision makers and the citizens who influence those decision makers,” says Livingstone.


In addition to the funding, the biggest challenge to these programs is awareness and the need to educate those who aren’t aware of the many options available to them. Pet owners across the country may fail to sterilize their animals for many reasons, but research has shown that those less likely to spay or neuter their dogs are in the lower income brackets and usually are not aware of the special services available to them. Being unable to afford the cost at a regular veterinary office, with prices ranging from $200 to $400, depending on the animal, its size, sex and health (large female canines being the most expensive), many low-income pet owners dismiss the service as inaccessible. But most states offer plenty of assistance to anyone knowing where to find it. And NC is one of those states.


Once you are aware of the options available in your area, the responsibility is with you as a pet owner to account for your own animals and prevent unwanted litters…and to spread the word. “It’s difficult sometimes to see the relationship between your personal animals not being spayed or neutered and millions of animals each year dying in shelters due to overpopulation,” says Barthelemy. Talk to your family, friends and community about the benefits of spaying and neutering. Sterilizing your dog is not only good for all companion animals in the country, it’s also good for your family pet as well. Research has shown, for example, that spaying females prior to their first heat cycle eliminates the risk of breast and uterine cancer, and that neutering males prevents testicular cancer and tumors. If you still have concerns, talk to your veterinarian, or call one of the low-cost programs in your area. They will be happy to tell you all about the details of the spay/neuter procedure, and what it will mean for you and your pet.


may have their dog spayed or neutered for only a $20 co-pay, sometimes less for the most needy. AnimalKind also runs the SpayNC Helpline at 888-623-4936, a toll- free number for North Carolinians seeking spay/neuter resources in their area.


It takes a lot of funding to keep these non-profit programs afloat. “The struggle to maintain the spay/neuter assistance system,” says Beth Livingstone, executive director of AnimalKind, “is in the hands of the government…A county’s policy and budget decisions must fully support


The good news is, the pet overpopulation crisis is not irreparable, and no pet owner is without support.


For more information on SNAP-NC, visit www.snap-nc.org or call 919-783-7627.


For more information on POP-NC, visit www.pop-nc.com or call 919-942-2250.


To learn more about AnimalKind and THE $20 FIX, visit www.animalkind.org or call 919-870-1660.


The SpayNC Helpline can be reached at 888-623-4936. The Triangle Dog T Volume 2 • Issue 1 19


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