Weatherford Democrat

December 14, 2007

Low cost pet sterilization available at Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter

Special to the Democrat

The Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter has a limited number of appointments available to provide low cost spay/neuter surgeries for pets belonging to low income Parker County residents. PetSmart Charities has generously provided grant funding to offset costs associated with the low cost spay/neuter program. For a limited time, low income residents may apply at the shelter to have a pet sterilized at the minimal cost of $20. Those participating in this program will also get their pet’s vaccinations updated at no additional charge.

In order for pet owners to qualify for the low cost spay/neuter program, applicants must be Parker County residents, be at least 18 years of age, show proof of identification, bring in original Social Security Card, and proof of receiving some type of governmental financial assistance such as Lone Star Card/food stamps, SSI, TANIF, WIC, Medicaid, housing, etc. There is a limit of one low cost pet sterilization surgery per household.

Sterilizing your pets not only helps to control pet population but may also reduce the risk of disease in your pet and make your pet a better companion.

What do "spay" and "neuter" really mean?

Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their reproductive organs. Male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their testicles. In both cases, the operation is performed while the pet is under anesthesia. Local veterinarians rotate at the shelter to perform the sterilization surgeries.

Spaying or neutering is good for your pet

n Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives.

n Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be difficult and expensive to treat.

n Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle.

n Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the risk of prostate disease.

Spaying or neutering is good for you

n Spaying/neutering can make your pet a better, more affectionate companion.

n Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark territory.

n Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle. Estrus lasts an average of six to 12 days, often twice a year in dogs and an average of six to seven days, three or more times a year in cats. Females in heat can cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, and attract unwanted male animals.

n Unsterilized animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than those that have been spayed/neutered.

n Spaying and neutering can make pets less likely to bite.

n Neutering makes pets less likely to roam the neighborhood, run away, or get into fights.

Spaying and neutering are good for the community

n Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals.

n Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites and attacks.

n Animal shelters are already overburdened with surplus animals.

n Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers, defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or anger people who have no understanding of their misery or needs.

n Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.

The shelter’s long term goal is to reduce pet overpopulation in Parker County. This year alone, the shelter will take in almost 7500 unwanted animals of which over 5,000 will be euthanized.

Weatherford Police Captain Greg Lance said, "This program has been implemented to help those less fortunate to better care for their pets as well as do their part to help control the pet population in our community. We strongly encourage qualifying residents to participate in this program."

If you or someone you know, may be eligible for this program and has a pet that has not been sterilized, please contact the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter for an application. This program will end March 1, 2008. Please return your application as soon as possible. Contact the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter at 817-598-4111 or go by 403 Hickory Lane for an application and more information regarding this program. You may also download an application from the City of Weatherford’s website at www.weatherfordtx. gov.