Spay and neuter operations are a crucial way to help Florida’s animal population, but for us, it’s even more than that. It’s our focus. It is the driving mission of Florida Animal Friend, and it’s the reason for our grants. Florida shelters, rescues, spay and neuter clinics and veterinarians are successfully reducing the number of unwanted births through innovative affordable spay and neuter initiatives, subsidized by Florida Animal Friend grant funding.
In addition to reducing unwanted cat and dog births, spay and neuter operations often help cultivate a relationship with pet owners in need of other free and low-cost pet care services. Community outreach programs are growing throughout the country out of the need for pet care in underserved communities with limited veterinary resources.
How Spay and Neuter Can Help Underserved Communities
Jimmy, a 36-year-old homeless pet owner, called his three-wheel bicycle with an attached trailer home. This bike carried his belongings and best friends, T-Bone and Lady. The two dogs were also homeless when Jimmy befriended them. Providing for T-Bone and Lady became Jimmy’s purpose in life.
The local homeless shelter where Jimmy occasionally visited for meals, introduced Jimmy to a humane society outreach worker that often stopped by the shelter to offer assistance to homeless pet owners. After several encounters, the kindly shelter worker arranged for Lady and T-Bone to be spayed and neutered. Over the next several months, Jimmy accompanied by T-Bone and Lady visited his friends at the shelter clinic where he was provided with dog food, heartworm and flea preventative.
Today, with the help of the humane society outreach services and a social service agency, Jimmy resides in a pet-friendly apartment with T-Bone and Lady. He is currently an employee and volunteer at his local humane society. In addition, he often advocates the benefits of spay and neuter to other homeless pet owners by sharing how a simple spay and neuter surgery improved his life and the lives of his best friends T-Bone and Lady.
Helping the Florida Pet Population
There are more efforts emerging to help people like Jimmy and his friends. A model program provided by the Humane Society of the United States’ Pets for Life Program (PLF) focuses its efforts on underserved communities by offering free pet care resources, services and information. PFL provides mentorship and training to local organizations implementing community outreach programs.
Caring for the pet population may start with spay and neuter, but there is even more that we can do to make life better for pets and the community. If you’re passionate about animal welfare, consider purchasing a Florida Animal Friend license plate to help find free and low-cost spay and neuter services in the state. And don’t forget to support your local animal shelter!