The Helping Out Pets Everyday (HOPE) organization is hoping to help Upland, California pet owners understand why it is so important to spay and neuter your pets. HOPE has been offering spay and neuter surgeries at low costs since 2004. Their clinics are for Upland residents.
“If you take the over 1,000 animals that we spayed and neutered since 2004 and times that by how many that could have been reproduced, we have to have had a tremendous impact on the community,” said Margaret Coffman, president of HOPE.
In the past, HOPE was able to provide spay and neuter services completely free for residents. Since the prices have now increased, they are now asking that residents pay only a small portion of the fees.
The fees are extremely minimal, however.
The team is still making appointments, but they will be forced to limit the number of surgeries they can perform due to financial restrictions.
“We need to raise the money in order to afford this consideration to residents in Upland,” said Coffman. HOPE is currently looking into grant funding to keep the program running.
The surgeries take place in a mobile veterinary care unit that is a part of Western University of Health Sciences.
Another great benefit to the program is the experience provided to first and second year veterinary students. It is a rare opportunity for them to get to work hands on with pet owners and their beloved pets. A certified veterinarian actually performs the surgeries, however, the students are able to assist.
“The students have hands-on experience…and a lot of curriculum don’t have clinical skills for the first two years in that capacity, so we feel like we’re pretty much at the forefront to have them come in,” said Eva Jaeger, VACS program coordinator at Western.
HOPE is hoping the program will also educate pet owners about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. The surgery is able to help prevent pets from getting cancer later in life.
Males are extremely susceptible to testicular cancer, while females are at risk of mammary tumors.
“Even if you breed your dog, which I don’t encourage unless you have a really high-quality breeding program, even the really dedicated breeders would spay and neuter dogs at four or five years old just to eliminate any risk involved,” Jaeger said.
In addition, pets who have not been spayed or neutered are much more likely to escape to find a mate.
Coffman explains that a lack of spay and neuter practices result in the high number of homeless animals in shelters.
“We currently don’t need more animals being born. We have enough that we’re killing,” she said.
“I mean that’s ridiculous,” Coffman said. “Why add to the misery to see all these animals going down when we don’t have to? It’s just awful. As much as people say oh, my dog never gets out of the yard, it happens.”