Unique Spay/Neuter Program Changing Lives in Rural NC
The Fixxapet Spay and Neuter Van is a recent program in Montgomery County, NC, having only started in March, 2013. Since then, however, 350 animals have been spayed and neutered, and this number is likely to grow before they finish their first year operating.
The program is an amazing testimony to how normal people with a heart for animals can make a significant difference in their community. Fixxapet was started by four women who saw a need and realized that nothing would be done unless they stepped in and took action.
Pat Parrish, the founder of the program, was a teacher in Montgomery County. She is an animal advocate and she began to talk with another teacher with a love for animals, Teresa Bruton. They were both retiring and saw that they could use their time to make a significant difference in a high-kill community. They were then joined by two others, Stephanie Franklin and Linda Bittner, to create a dedicated foursome.
Each week, the van picks up animals from three locations in Montgomery County, early in the morning. The animals are then brought to the Companion Animal Clinic of the Sandhills where they are spayed or neutered for a greatly reduced price. They are then returned to their owners in the early evening.
Since Montgomery County is a very rural and impoverished area, the service is being provided at a greatly reduced rate compared to most clinics. For dogs under 75 pounds-$65; over 75 pounds -$130; female cats-$50; male cats $35; and for anyone on public assistance-all dogs, regardless of size are $40 and cats are $25. The prices include medication that is given to the owner upon returning the animal. In comparison, most local clinics would charge around $200 to spay/neuter a dog that is under 75 pounds.
This has made spay/neuter attainable to families that would otherwise not be able to afford the surgery. There is even a service in which you can donate to have an animal spayed or neutered for free at companionanimalclinic.org. You can designate that a donation goes to Montgomery County animals, which will then go to Fixxapet’s efforts.
The women behind Fixxapet also work closely with the Montgomery County Humane Society and the Department of Social Services to get the word out to some of their clients.
They also work together with the Montgomery County Animal Control, though they have received a lot of negative publicity for being “high-kill.” However, the Fixxapet team believes it is important to work with them to address the overpopulation issue and help the animals there.
As a result of their success, Social Services will even begin passing out vouchers to people who cannot afford the service and the Montgomery County Humane Society is creating a volunteer position to work with Fixxapet on spaying and neutering all animals that come through the shelter.
Two of Fixxapet’s volunteers, Teresa Bruton and Stephanie Franklin, expressed their hope that in a few years they can really see a difference in the local shelter as a result of what they are doing. They also described a story that really illustrates their work and the difference that a small donation can make:
“Someone dropped off a stray Beagle to be spayed after she showed up at a local business…She was a really nice dog and one of the employees there adopted her. Then a man donated $100 for her and others to be fixed. So, her operation was paid for and then we were able to pay for two elderly women who were on fixed incomes and had been trying to feed some cats, so we used the rest of the money to fix them and provide food.”
Correction: We originally had written that the Montgomery County Humane Society is “high-kill.” However, we were informed that it is the animal control that is “high-kill” and not the Humane Society.