Animal overpopulation is a concern in the Mid-South, something Spay Memphis works to address. One fertile cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens in seven years and one fertile dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years.
Those numbers from Spay Memphis show how large the fight is to reduce the Mid-South’s homeless animal population, one that shelters, rescues and pet adoptions can do only so much to prevent the euthanasia of animals.
The mission of Spay Memphis is to provide high quality, affordable spay and neuter services to the Memphis community as one big way to reduce the number of animals that are put to sleep. Dogs and cats are the main pets, but people also bring in other animals such as rabbits and pot belly pigs.
“Our values and our goals are to make Memphis an ideal pet community where everyone has their pets spayed and neutered,” said Executive Director Brittany Pace. “We have a huge pet population in Memphis. The community needs places like us to spay and neuter as well as rescue groups to help reduce the population.”
Why does Memphis have a pet population problem? There are multiple reasons, one of which is education. A lot of people don’t understand the reasoning behind spaying and neutering pets, Pace said.
“There are a lot of benefits,” she said. “It reduces the risk of cancer significantly. For females, it reduces their risk of mammary tumors, and an infection called pyometra. For males it not only reduces cancer risk, it completely eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Male dogs go roaming when they find a dog in heat. It reduces the risk of roaming so there are fewer dogs on the street. When neutered they stay in their own home environment.”
But people also don’t always realize there are affordable options. Spay Memphis isn’t alone in offering affordable options. The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, for example, offers low-cost options and some vets offer low-cost days, Pace said.
“There is a lot of thought behind pet owners who think it’s too expensive and can’t afford it,” Pace added. “We hope to reach those pet owners who don’t understand.”
Spay Memphis provides its services to anyone who brings their pet in, typically at a third of the cost. Spay Memphis charges for the actual cost of surgery with no additional fees. Anyone can bring their pet in, but the main target customer is anyone who can’t afford a full-service vet.
“We’re not trying to take business from full-service vet clinics,” Pace said. “People still need to visit the vet for vaccines and checkups. But our core demographic is the population of Memphis and surrounding area who can’t afford those services.”
The spay and neuter process begins in the mornings when owners drop their pets off. The animals are placed in kennels, and dogs and cats are separated. The recovery process from surgery takes about two hours so all animals are sent home later that afternoon fully awake.
The feral cat program takes humanely trapped cats and will spay and neuter for $35 each, which includes rabies vaccine. The cats then can be released back where trapped.
Spay Memphis operates out of a new location at 3787 Summer Ave. between Highland and Graham streets. The organization moved there in late August 2017 from its former location on Goodman Street off Park Avenue.
Spay Memphis was in that location since it opened in 2005. It worked well but the organization has seen steady growth and it was becoming more difficult to fill the demand. Spay Memphis performed over 5,000 spay and neuters last year in its former 1,200-square-foot location.
“We had outgrown the space,” Pace said. “We wanted to keep expanding and to do that we needed a larger space.”
Spay Memphis developed a partnership with Superlo Foods, and through events the Memphis company became a major sponsor of the nonprofit. Superlo Foods ultimately bought the new Spay Memphis location, renovated it and now rents it to the nonprofit. The 3,000-square-foot space more than doubles the former location and allows for plenty of future growth.
The new space allows for a larger surgical suite where a staff supervisory veterinarian – along with occasional help from volunteer vets – operates between two tables where she can perform 30 to 35 procedures in a day.
The hope with the expanded space is to add another vet who can operate on a third surgical table, which was added along with anesthesia and monitoring equipment recently thanks to a fundraising effort. Long term the organization also wants to open for more hours during the week.
“Our goal over the next three years is to increase surgery numbers to 7,500 a year,” Pace said. “To do that we’ll need to hire another vet and more staff. Smaller goals are to reach more people in our community, the people who need our services. We’re hopeful to achieve all of that at the same time.”
As a nonprofit organization, Spay Memphis fundraises and writes grants to keep costs lower.
“We received a grant to offer spay and neuter services for students for $20,” Pace said. “We regularly offer grant funds for people on government assistance and seniors.”
The program allows those individuals to get their pets spayed and neutered for $20. The grant subsidizes the remaining costs.
Spay Memphis always welcomes monetary donations, which can be made via its website at spaymemphis.org, check or simple cash drop-off. The organization also relies on volunteers to assist with cleaning and laundry needs.
Appointments are necessary for all pets except feral cats, and may be made at spaymemphis.org or by calling the clinic line at 901-324-3202. Spay Memphis is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with pet drop-off from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
Created by eBiz Solutions