PetSmart Charities® Funds Indiana Spay/Neuter Program

Shelter intake drops by 41%

puppies, blk/wht pupsNearly 30 dogs a week were coming into the Morgan County Humane Society in Indiana. The shelter saw all kinds of dogs — from Yorkshire terriers to Saint Bernards, tiny puppies to senior dogs, everyone showed up.

So many dogs arrived that the shelter was unable to find homes for all of them. And the staff was overwhelmed trying to feed and care for the pets.

Shelter staff asked for help by applying for a PetSmart Charities grant. We partnered with the shelter to address the root cause of the overpopulation problem, providing a targeted spay/neuter grant for $67,500.

Targeted grants provide funding and mentoring for spay/neuter projects in areas where there is a critical need. 

Lack of spay/neuter education adds to overpopulation problem

Morgan County is a rural area with many farmers and hunters who often do not spay or neuter their pets. The farmers think of their dogs almost as livestock, and the hunters believe their dogs won’t hunt as well if they’re fixed.

These Indiana residents are similar to many Americans who don’t see the scale of the pet overpopulation problem. Up to 4 million pets are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes or shelters to care for them.

This crisis takes a special toll on shelter staff and volunteers who care for abandoned pets and accidental litters.

“I would go into the shelter to take pictures of the dogs, and it was sometimes hard to pet them or interact with them because I didn’t know what was going to happen to them,” says Diane Hess, spay/neuter team leader and treasurer for the Morgan County Humane Society.

Grant makes 1,400 spay/neuter procedures possible

The PetSmart Charities grant enabled Morgan County to spay or neuter 1,400 dogs between July 2010 and February 2013.

To get the word out, Hess and her team used public service announcements, fliers, newspaper articles and information tables at local feed stores. They even went door-to-door and collaborated with the local 4-H dog training club. These efforts helped promote the health and behavioral benefits of fixing your pets and changed public perceptions in the community.

93% of dogs now find a home

As a result of their efforts, the number of dogs entering the group’s shelter declined by 41%. Even better, the number getting adopted rose to 93%.

“Now when I go into the shelter to take pictures, I’m like, ‘Oh man, you’re going to get a great home somewhere; I just know it,’” says Hess. “With so many fewer animals coming in, we’re able to take better care of the ones we have. And it doesn’t always feel so overwhelming.”

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