Shelters, Clinics Receive Spay/Neuter Stimulus Funding
When the pandemic hit, our industry mobilized quickly to get animals out of shelters and into foster homes. With some animals in foster unaltered and with many spay/neuter services temporarily suspended, a growing concern was how to get caught up on backlogs of spay/neuter and concern about if we would see a large uptick in puppy and kitten births from unaltered pets. We are excited to announce that Best Friends helped spearhead #SpayTogether, an unprecedented collaborative effort to offer more than $2 million in funding and support to clinics and shelters so that they can perform 50,000 spay/neuter surgeries.
I first approached the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), ASPCA® and Animal Balance about coming up with something to help our clinics get back up and running, and to infuse a bright spot into the distress so many of us have been feeling about the many lives at stake. They agreed wholeheartedly, and a plan started to take shape: if stimulus funding helped other industries, why couldn’t it help ours?
Together, we reached out to other national animal organizations and the result is the historic collaborative campaign #SpayTogether. This joint effort will provide surgery support grants and offer consulting for clinics training in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgeries and those that need help reviewing pandemic-affected budgets. Through the infusion of cash, participating spay/neuter veterinary clinics will be able to offer much-needed help to underserved communities through discounted procedures and help catch up on the backlog of surgeries needed at our nation’s shelters.
While #SpayTogether will impact every state, the coalition has identified eight key states that have substantial need due to veterinary shortages and/or large amounts of unaltered animals: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, California, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Oklahoma. Based on community assessments that consider state and local emergency orders, equipment needs and safety protocols, expert teams from the ASPCA®, Animal Balance and ViDAS® will provide some on-site support in these eight key states.
And we are continuing to update the COVID-19 Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic Preparedness Guide to help them safely perform spay/neuter surgeries while following physical distancing guidelines.
Collaboration pulls together major players
I’m not just excited that this help is coming; I’m in awe that so many organizations in our movement have joined forces to make it happen. Other than the previously mentioned groups, Maddie’s Fund®, PetSmart Charities®, GreaterGood.org™, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA, Inc, Banfield Foundation®, Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, Petco Foundation, BISSELL Pet Foundation™, University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, PetPro Tele+™, Emancipet, Georgia B. Ridder Foundation, IDEXX, Bark Avenue Foundation, DogsTrust USA, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Peter and Ann Lambertus Family Foundation, Life of Riley, South Fork Foundation, Two Mauds and the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement are stepping up.
Finally, several businesses are making available discounted veterinary supplies and services to shelters and veterinary clinics affected by COVID-19. These include three to 12 months of free access to Clinic HQ software, plus free data migration, setup and training; a 10% discount on the purchase of traps from Tomahawk Live Trap; and 50,000 microchips from Michelson Found Animals.
I’m so encouraged by how much this industry continues to rise to the challenges that come our way. Even when funding is tight for everyone, these organizations have found a way to support spay/neuter.
We’ve named this effort #SpayTogether for a good reason: because when we work together, we can accomplish so much more. We need to stick together as we move forward to strengthen the bedrock of our lifesaving efforts—effectively managing community cat, owned pets and shelter animals so that every cat and dog can get the help they deserve.
Aimee St. Arnaud
Director of National Veterinary Outreach
Best Friends Animal Society