Mobile Spay/Neuter Travels Eastern NC to Assist Pet Owners

SNAP-NC mobile veterinary clinics travel to make spaying and neutering more accessible. This is a SNAP van in a Zebulon NC store parking lot. Photo: Kay Whatley.
SNAP-NC mobile veterinary clinics travel to make spaying and neutering more accessible. This is a SNAP van in a Zebulon NC store parking lot. Photo: Kay Whatley.

Too many dogs and cats without homes is a human-created problem which needs to be solved by humans. Adopting animals helps; however, there are more pets than adopting families. One fundamental solution to ending euthanasia programs is spaying and neutering to prevent future generations of unwanted puppies and kittens.

A North Carolina nonprofit that is focused on making spay/neuter accessible and more affordable is SNAP-NC. The SNAP-NC program provides traveling vet-mobiles and low-cost surgeries. The organization has handled over 100,000 pet surgeries since it started in 2000. They are working to reduce the number of unwanted animals that could end up in area shelters.

Overpopulation of Domesticated Cats and Dogs

Pet overpopulation is a solvable problem. Pet owners can easily ensure that their pets do not breed by “fixing” their animals. Imagine if a majority of pets were fixed, how the number of cats and dogs could be decreased.  Lessening their numbers could give humans an appreciation for those available, and bring an end to healthy animal euthanasia programs in shelters statewide, or even nationwide.

In some parts of the US, spay/neuter has been so successful that there are shortages of adoptable animals. There are pet organizations in North Carolina that transport NC shelter dogs to other states — Pennsylvania for one example — to areas that need more adoptable dogs. While NC is euthanizing shelter dogs, PA is importing dogs!

Having shelters too empty seems to be a better problem to have, in this writer’s opinion, than tens of thousands of unwanted or unclaimed pets being euthanized.

Spaying and neutering reduces the number of shelter pets. Getting your pet “fixed” now may lighten the load on shelters immediately and in the future.  Having this overpopulation problem solved so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to face the heartbreak, costs, and pet overpopulation issues would be wonderful.

Euthanasia by the Numbers

Overpopulation of cats and dogs helps keep euthanasia programs going strong, to the detriment of shelter animals young and old.  According to a report by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), Public Animal Shelter across North Carolina alone euthanized approximately 36,226 dogs and 68,514 cats in 2015 — in a single year.

Looking at just one shelter, the Wake County Animal Care Control center in Raleigh NC took in 5,484 dogs in 2015, and 5,096 cats.

The number of dogs adopted was 3,405 for the year. The number returned to their owner was 1,168.

The number of cats adopted was 3,040  for the year. The number returned to their owner was 156.

The shelter euthanized over 16% of the dogs, and over 34% of the cats.

Wake County Animal Care Control is just used as an example, but they actually do better than many other shelters.  This Wake County shelter has been working hard to reduce their euthanasia rates, which are much lower than surrounding county shelters — some with euthanasia rates above 70%.

NCDA&CS’s Veterinary Division includes an Animal Welfare Section which licenses shelters, oversee  Euthanasia Technician the certification programs, and collects shelter data on animals “put to sleep.” For 2015, information is available for public animal shelters. The detailed report covers all types of animals; while birds, horses, and other creatures may be listed in their intake numbers, the vast majority are cats or dogs.

The full shelter report is available at www.ncagr.gov/vet/aws/fix/documents/2015AnimalShelterReportPDF5-26-16.pdf (PDF).

Shelter Financial Costs

Caring for pets in shelters, whether they are adopted or not, costs money. Funds come from the community in terms of tax dollars (administrative and grant funding) and local donations that could be given elsewhere. Because so many pets are not spayed or neutered, the community has to house, feed, and manage pets that end up in shelters.  Community resources are pulled, and pets generally have a poor quality of life — or death.

For example, the Wake County Animal Care Control center in Raleigh NC reported costs of $2,953,123 in 2015. What does this mean?  It means that almost $3 Million in funding went to caring for animals, handling adoptions, and euthanizing animals. While the shelter reports a cost per animal handled: $266.99, specific costs for a Euthanasia technician, equipment, and body disposal are not provided.

Whether an animal lived or died, costs were incurred.  Since shelters often run on a mix of public funding and private donations, this becomes a community cost of $3 Million that can be decreased by decreasing the number of unwanted puppies and kittens. That is funding that could have gone elsewhere, if people had spayed and neutered their pets just a few years ago.  One un-fixed animal can produce many litters over their lifetime, with their offspring producing many more litters, and so on.

Yes, there would still be pets ending up in shelters from homes that didn’t want them, or from pets allowed to breed; however, the more spaying and neutering is done, the fewer animals and shelter-related costs. Want to lower the tax burden of animal control shelters? Fix your pet, and encourage family and friends to do the same.

SNAP-NC Spay/Neuter Services

Headquartered in New Hill, North Carolina (Wake County), the SNAP-NC nonprofit is targeting the problem of overpopulation by offering spay and neuter operating rooms on wheels. SNAP-NC mobile surgeries travel across Eastern NC to “fix” pets in locations that may be more convenient — and lower cost — for pet owners.

Serving about a dozen counties, these mobile veterinary surgery clinics are staffed by fully licensed and accredited veterinarians and their team. The unit is set up to use modern techniques, anesthesia, and equipment to ensure safe, quality car. SNAP-NC Services are delivered through a fleet of mobile veterinary surgery clinics able to bring the benefits of top-notch care to all parts of the twelve counties we serve.

Spay/neuter of dogs starts at $125 and up, with rate varying by the size of the animal.

Spay/neuter of cats is by gender, with a fee of $75 for males (neutering) and $85 for females (spaying).

No one is turned away by SNAP-NC. No income qualification is needed to use SNAP-NC services.  Their funding comes from a combination of grants, donations, and fees collected.

A separate SNAP-NC subsidy program is the Prevent Another Litter Subsidy (PALS) Program, which does require income qualification. This program provides subsidies for sterilization of dogs and cats and is available as funding allows. The co-payment is $35 cash for cats and $50+ cash for dogs (based on weight).  The PALS Program is available to low-income residents in Durham, Granville, Harnett, Johnson, Lee, part of Wake, and Wayne counties.

SNAP-NC also operates a feral (wild) cat program, offering sterilization of wild-living cats at a special price of $60 to have these non-pet cats spayed or neutered. Feral cats — also called community cats — are not the same as stray cats. Community cats may be domesticated pets that have run off and gone wild, the offspring of cats who have reverted to a wild state, or the offspring of community cats, and they live together in colonies. Once fixed and released, the wild-living cat population may be controlled. A fixed, healthy community cat colony is better for a neighborhood than the alternative. These cats must be dropped off for SNAP-NC in a humane cat trap.

Spay/Neuter Mobile Unit Locations

Dates and locations below span multiple counties, and include Warrenton, Goldsboro, Knightdale, Wake Forest, and other locations. An appointment is required. To make your pet an appointment  at a SNAP-NC mobile vet location, call their office at 919.783.7627 or email info@snap-nc.org. You must set up an appointment, and will receive detailed instructions for your pet’s pre-surgery care, drop off, and pickup requirements. When you pick up your pet after surgery, you’ll receive post-surgery care instructions.

SNAP Unit #1 schedule:

  • September 27, 2016 — Just Save parking lot, Warrenton NC
  • September 28, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • September 29, 2016 — Walmart parking lot, Holly Springs NC
  • September 30, 2016 — Johnston County Animal Shelter, Smithfield NC
  • October 3, 2016 — Food Lion / GCF parking lot, Wake Forest NC
  • October 4, 2016 — Agri Supply parking lot, Garner NC
  • October 5, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • October 6, 2016 — Walmart parking lot, Knightdale NC
  • October 11, 2016 — Walmart parking lot, Holly Springs NC
  • October 12, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • October 13, 2016 — Rose’s / Food Lion, Zebulon NC
  • October 14, 2016 — Johnston County Animal Shelter, Smithfield NC
  • October 25, 2016 — Franklin County Animal Shelter, Louisburg NC
  • October 26, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • October 27, 2016 — Granville County Animal Shelter, Oxford NC
  • October 28, 2016 — Johnston County Animal Shelter, Smithfield NC
  • October 31, 2016 — Harnett County Courthouse, Lillington NC
  • November 1, 2016 — Agri Supply parking lot, Garner NC
  • November 2, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • November 3, 2016 — johnston county animal shelter

SNAP Unit #2 schedule:

  • September 27, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • September 28, 2016 — Pet Supplies Plus, Goldsboro NC
  • September 29, 2016 — Granville County Animal Shelter, Oxford NC
  • September 30, 2016 — Johnston County Animal Shelter, Smithfield NC
  • October 3, 2016 — Carquest, Apex NC
  • October 4, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • October 11, 2016 — Durham County Animal Shelter, Durham NC
  • October 12, 2016 — Brier Creek PetCo, Raleigh NC
  • October 13, 2016 — charles boyd chevrolet, henderson NC
  • October 14, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • October 18, 2016 — Agri Supply parking lot, Garner NC
  • October 20, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • October 21, 2016 — Johnston County Animal Shelter, Smithfield NC
  • October 25, 2016 — Southpointe PetCo, Durham NC
  • October 27, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • November 1, 2016 — Carquest, Apex NC
  • November 2, 2016 — Orange County Animal Shelter, Chapel Hill NC
  • November 3, 2016 — Walmart parking lot, Holly Springs NC
  • November 4, 2016 — Food Lion / GCF parking lot, Wake Forest NC

To find out more, or see the latest location updates, visit the SNAP-NC website at www.snap-nc.org.

Overpopulation in Pictures

Thank you to Spay USA, www.spayusa.org, for these informational graphics showing how much spaying and neutering can lessen reproduction.

The dog population pyramid, by Spay USA, published with their permission.
The dog population pyramid, by Spay USA, published with their permission.

 

The cat population pyramid, by Spay USA, published with their permission.
The cat population pyramid, by Spay USA, published with their permission.

 

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About Kay Whatley 2300 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.