A new program recently approved by commissioners in Franklin County, Ohio, will make the spaying and neutering of pets free for eligible low-income families.
What’s more, it could well prevent the euthanization of roughly a thousand homeless dogs annually — and it won’t cost the taxpayers a thing.
“Our pets give us unconditional love,” Deb Finelli, assistant director at the Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center, told commissioners. “This is our way of paying them back.”
The shelter never refuses to accept animals — it took in more than 10,000 in 2016. Roughly 85 percent of them, happily, were adopted or reclaimed, but the rest were euthanized for various reasons. Although that number was about 1,600 — an impressive decrease from the 5,000 put down in 2010 — it’s still too many.
Cost, Finelli told the Columbus Dispatch, is the No. 1 reason people fail to sterilize their pets. The paper reported that of the 10,000 dogs the shelter took in during 2016, more than 85 percent were neither spayed nor neutered. These roaming dogs make new homeless pups and the cycle continues. Those in support of the program hope it will curtail the over-breeding that results in more dogs coming to the shelter.
The program, funded by the shelter’s spay/neuter donation fund, will be free for low-income dog owners who qualify.
“Studies have shown that low-income households relinquish a disproportionate number of pets to shelter,” Finelli said. “As a result, a higher proportion of pets from impoverished communities are entering shelters, and data suggest that these pets may be at significantly higher risk for euthanasia.”
In addition to spaying or neutering dogs, the program — called “Snyp-It” — will also cover a medical checkup, necessary vaccinations the implantation of a microchip. Pit bulls and pit mixes, which comprise roughly 25 percent of the shelter’s intakes, will be a focus.
To make an appointment or for more information, email [email protected] or call the shelter at 614-525-5454.