In South Carolina, The Aiken County Council earmarked $30,000 to fund a subsidized spay-neuter voucher program for county residents. Pet owners must meet US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income guidelines and fill out an application at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. If approved, the owner will be given a voucher which he can take to any Veterinarian willing to accept it. No word on the shelter’s webpage on how low income residents are supposed to get to the shelter to fill out their application, how they should demonstrate they fall within HUD’s income parameters, how many Vets accept the vouchers, and if those Vets require vaccines and/or other fees in addition to the spay-neuter. A step in the right direction, perhaps but certainly not a giant leap.
Also in Aiken County, CSRA Life Saver in North Augusta, SC offers low cost spay-neuter services to anyone. No vouchers or income status documentation is required. Fees range from $35 for a male cat neuter to $75 for a large dog spay or neuter. I contacted the group and they do accept feral cats for spay/neuter surgery. Visit their website for detailed information.
The Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, TN euthanized approximately 70% of the pets it took in last year. This year, they are teaming up with what is so far a small scale effort at transporting rescues called Pilots-N-Paws. This is a volunteer group of pilots willing to fly rescue pets from a shelter where they would have to be euthanized for space to a location where they could be adopted. The main pilot in the organization is often asked why he would volunteer to fly shelter pets on his personal plane just to get them into adoptive homes. “The answer is because I can.” I love that.
And I love the spirit behind the whole idea. Shelter killing is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be. It will take coordinated community efforts and innovative thinking by those involved but no kill is achievable. Not only that, it’s essential to my mind. Because we can.