Program offers quick fix to pet overpopulation

A low-cost animal population control program has helped drastically reduce the number of pets surrendered to the Shelby County Humane Society, and has prompted a spike in the agency’s number of spay and neuter surgeries.

Through the Quick Fix program, the Humane Society provides $18 spay and neuter surgeries to Shelby County residents who receive aid from any state or local public assistance program, or who can prove their eligibility for free or reduced school lunch programs.

Program costs for all non-county residents, or those who do not qualify for aid or reduced-cost school lunch programs, ranges from $43-$68.

“We did 289 surgeries last month,” said Shelby County Humane Society Shelter Programs Director Jessica Marable. “That’s over 100 more surgeries than our previous high month before that.”

Through a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other local and federal agencies, the Humane Society is also offering free spay and neuter surgeries, rabies vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, microchip surgeries and other services to cat owners in Calera and Montevallo.

To participate in the free program, cat owners must provide proof of residency in Shelby County and must have a Calera or Montevallo address.

Since the program began, it has significantly reduced the amount of animals surrendered to the Shelby County shelter, Marable said.

“We are already seeing a drastic reduction in our intake,” Marable said. “In 2008, or total intake was 7,064. In 2009, our total intake was 5,629.

“I would say most of that is because of the Quick Fix program,” she added.

The local shelter is also holding free pet pick-up and drop-off days throughout the county. Through the program, shelter officials will transport pets to the spay and neuter clinic and return the pets to their owners the same day.

Pet owners do not have to live in the city where the pick-up and drop-off days are scheduled, but they must meet the shelter van at the location at 6:15 a.m., and must pick up their pets between 5-5:30 p.m.

For a complete list of pick-up and drop-off days, visit Shelbyhumane.org/quickfix, or call 643-3499.