ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services is calling on the public to “spay it forward” and help fund spay and neuter vouchers for pet owners who may need financial help.
The Spay It Forward campaign was created last year to help combat pet overpopulation issues within the community. The initiative was grant funded and provided vouchers for eligible low-income pet owners.
After experiencing last year’s high demand and issuing 524 vouchers, the grant funding ran out. This year, the shelter needs to raise funds to make the program successful. The prices for a spay or neuter procedure can be as low as $50 for cats at low-cost shelters, according to animal services. As for dogs, the surgeries can cost up to several hundred dollars.
In a news release, OCAS said it accepted more than 12,000 homeless animals in the last fiscal year, emphasizing that offering spay and neuter vouchers could prevent this from happening.
“The sheer volume of abandoned and discarded animals coming into our shelter day after day signals a problem,” said Diane Summers, manager for Orange County Animal Services. “The remedy is accessibility for spay and neuter, to prevent pets from having unwanted litters of puppies and kittens and to help their owners obtain these essential veterinary services.”
The program is in partnership with low-cost spay and neuter clinics at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, Snip It and Spay N Save.
Animal services identifies low-income individuals as those who meet or are below the federal poverty level, receive Medicaid benefits or have an ACCESS EBT Card. Proof of low-income status must be presented to the participating clinic and verified for the voucher to be redeemed, according to the shelter.