Spay & Save program marks 100,000 surgeries, launches new services
The Spay & Save program ended 2019 by marking an incredible achievement. Since the subsidized and low-cost spay/neuter service was launched in 2010 by the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), more than 100,000 pets have received care at one of five surgery sites. The Oregon Humane Society is a founding member of ASAP and acts as fiscal agent for the coalition, in addition to managing the administration and centralized scheduling for the program and four of its surgery sites.
While it’s difficult to calculate how many unwanted litters of kittens Spay & Save has prevented, there has been a 50% reduction in cat and kitten intake from the public in local shelters in the past 10 years. Demand for the free and low-cost spay/neuter service continues to be high, with the surgery schedule at OHS is filling up at least a month in advance.
“We continue to reach out to outlying communities of the metro area,” says Anika Moje, Senior Program Manager, ASAP/OHS. “For example, this year we made a concerted effort in underserved areas of rural Clackamas County and host monthly transports with central drop-off locations to make the process easier for pet owners.”
While Spay & Save has been focused on cats, the program has also made a big difference for dogs.
“We were recently contacted by a pet owner who was at risk of losing her housing if her dogs were not spayed,” says Bailey Wilson, Program Coordinator, Spay & Save. “Her dogs got the surgery they needed and this pet owner was able to keep her dogs and stay in her home.”
Now, as Spay & Save gets ready to mark the 10th anniversary of serving pets in the community, the program continues helping underserved pet owners and has recently expanded to serve those who may not qualify for the program’s eligibility guidelines but may fall between the cracks.
“We knew we could do more and that there were pet owners who still needed help,” added Anika.
On Jan. 2, OHS and one other ASAP partner site began offering spay/neuter services and basic care packages to the general public, not just qualifying pet owners.
“The expanded program will provide low-cost options for pet owners who may not be able to afford basic care at their local vet clinic,” says Anika.
Cost for spay/neuter services is $80 for cats and $160 for dogs. Additional packages, including vaccines, flea treatment, nail trim and ear cleaning, start at $45.
While OHS strives to keep pets with their families through programs like Spay & Save, the goal is to keep expanding and help even more pets and families. The New Road Ahead Community Teaching Hospital will provide the space and expertise to increase access to veterinary care for clients in the state and region. By providing veterinary services on a sliding scale similar to the current low-cost spay and neuter services, OHS anticipates being able to increase Spay & Save services by more than 300% as well as offer critically-needed services beyond spay and neuter to tens of thousands of pets in the community.
Spay & Save has been helping the community stay safe and healthy for more than 10 years now, and expanding into the Community Teaching Hospital will reach countless more, helping keep pets and families together.