Indiana Daily Student

Vouchers offered to spay, neuter pets

$5 passes will be available at local Kmart stores

To commemorate Spay Day USA, the Monroe County Humane Association and Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic will partner to provide 360 spay or neuter surgeries for $5 per pet to low-income Monroe County residents.\nSpay Day USA is a spay and neuter campaign that began in 1995 and is now part of the Doris Day Animal Foundation.\nVouchers for surgeries are available for purchase this Saturday and Sunday at Kmart West, and March 4 and 5 at Kmart East. Vouchers can then be redeemed at Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic anytime before July 1.\nPets ALIVE Development Director Susan Dabkowski said a household consisting of one or two people who earn less than $25,000 or a household of three who earns less than $35,000 would be eligible for a voucher.\n"Most students would be eligible," Dabkowski said. \nDabkowski said taxpayers in this country spend over $2 billion a year on stray animals. \n"It's really a win - win - win situation to have pets spayed and neutered," Dabkowski said.\nAccording to Pets ALIVE's Web site, an estimated 5 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters each year, and spayed and neutered animals live longer, healthier lives.\nThe MCHA, which funds the program, has in years past allowed pet owners to redeem the vouchers at any area veterinarian. MCHA Executive Director Sarah Hayes said this year the vouchers will only be redeemable at Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic because of their low cost spays and neuters.\nAccording to a press release, the MCHA has a long standing commitment to lowering the pet overpopulation issue in the Bloomington area through its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program and the newly launched Litter Relinquishment Program at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. \nThrough the Litter Relinquishment Program, the MCHA will pay for the entire cost of a spay or neuter surgery at the Pets ALIVE Clinic for the parent animals whose litters are being relinquished to the shelter. Last year alone, the MCHA awarded more than $22,000 to lower income Monroe County residents to assist with the cost of having their pets sterilized.\n"It's a way to motivate people," Hayes said. "Too many animals are without homes. It's a lot better for animals if they are spayed or neutered (because) it reduces the risk of many types of cancers."\nPets ALIVE is a local non profit organization dedicated to addressing the problem of pet overpopulation in south-central Indiana. Spay Day USA also coincides with the one-year anniversary of Pets ALIVE.\nIn Pets ALIVE's first year of operation, it performed about 9,000 sterilization surgeries on cats in 18 counties throughout south-central Indiana. The organization plans on adding another veterinarian and expanding its service area to include more rural regions in 2006.\nFor more information on Spay Day USA, visit www.monroehumane.org or www.petsalivespayneuter.org.

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