Nevada County’s animal advocates collaborate to promote spay/neuter services | TheUnion.com

Nevada County’s animal advocates collaborate to promote spay/neuter services

Help with spay/Neuter services

If you own a pit bull, Chihuahua, malamute or husky, you can call Pound Puppy Rescue at 530-272-1716 and they will pay to have your dog spayed/neutered. If you own any other breed or a cat and are low income, you can go to Sammie’s Friends at 14647 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, and pick up a voucher. The voucher entitles the bearer to a credit on spaying or neutering a cat or dog at participating veterinarians. The credit is $40 for a male or $60 for a female dog, $30 for a male or $40 for a female cat.

Costs vary depending on the veterinarian, but AnimalSave’s fees are $35 for a male cat and $55 for a female. Costs to spay or neuter dogs range from $95 to $280 depending on age, gender and size. Call 530-477-1706 for more information.

Nevada County’s animal rescue groups would love to be out of work.

The best way to accomplish the ultimate goal of no longer needing to find homes for unwanted pets is simple, advocates say: reduce over-population.

And that’s why a number of organizations, including Sammie’s Friends and AnimalSave, are collaborating with Nevada County and Grass Valley animal control to form a “prevention” group focusing on reducing pet overpopulation in Nevada County.

“The ultimate message is, we are providing (adoption) services, but we want to reduce services — we want to eliminate our job,” said Patti Galle of Nevada County Pets In Need.

AnimalSave Executive Director Carolyn Niehaus agreed, saying, “Trying to find homes for animals is all well and good — our real focus is on prevention.”

AnimalSave, along with the Animal Spay/Neuter Clinic in Auburn, is a low-cost spay and neuter clinic that accepts vouchers to help defray the cost of spaying or neutering pets. The nonprofit has a mobile spay and neuter clinic that operates three days a week and can go off-site if needed — typically to spay feral cat colonies.

In its nearly 11 years of operation, the clinic has neutered 19,278 dogs and cats, along with some rabbits and “one rat,” Niehaus said.

“I figure we have prevented close to 2 million (unwanted) dogs and cats,” she said, estimating the potential number of puppies and kittens that could have been born to the approximately 1,500 animals a year that her organization has spayed.

But there are still plenty of unwanted litters being brought in, she said.

“We’re already seeing pregnant cats in the clinic,” Niehaus said, “We just took in a litter of six 6-week-old kittens that were very underweight and sick.”

Education

Niehaus said one big focus will be education — letting pet owners know that cats, in particular, should be spayed as early as possible, since they can get pregnant as young as 5 months. AnimalSave spays cats at 8 weeks and 2 pounds.

“A lot of people don’t know that,” she said, adding that she also wants to dispel myths about the health risks of spaying early.

“We’re just getting together and brainstorming ways to get the word out,” Niehaus said. “Clearly, (neutering) is what will reduce the number of animals needing shelter. … It’s spaying and neutering that will turn the tide.”

Galle, who works with pet owners who are homeless or who have financial issues, said she sees unwanted litters all year long.

“It’s never ending,” Galle said.

Galle said she sees one or two owners with unspayed animals on a weekly basis during her organization’s food giveaways.

If they agree to get their pet spayed or neutered, Pets in Need helps them by providing vouchers, Galle said.

“The majority are willing to get their animal fixed,” she said, adding, “The follow through is not as good as we would like. We give them a voucher but then we don’t see them again. … The goal is, what do you need to get that animal to the clinic? Do you need a ride, do you need money? How can we ensure this happens?”

The collaborative is working on a handout detailing the benefits of spaying and neutering, as well as a step-by-step guide to getting pets fixed, Galle said. Next steps include developing a curriculum to take into the county’s schools, as well as more outreach to possibly include mailers or even a billboard.

“How do we make our message even clearer?” said Galle.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lizk@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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