Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation (SAAF) says its performed 35,000 spay or neuter surgeries that have significantly reduced the city’s stray pet population.
Clinic Director Stacey Williams spoke about the impact of SAAF services at the organization’s seven year anniversary on Aug. 21.
“We’ve roughly prevented 200,000 plus unwanted puppies and kittens that would have been born and you know overpopulated the community as well as the local shelters and rescues,” said Williams.
Dr. Peggy White, resident veterinarian, says pets that are spayed or neutered also receive health benefits.
“Pets aren’t going to take birth control, so if we can get them sterilized, it will also prevent a lot of diseases.
She adds that for both males and females, sterilization greatly reduces the risk of cancer and bad habits in cats and dogs.
SAAF also last Monday announced a partnership with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce that offers vaccinations for local pets starting in October.
While SAAF is not a shelter, it partners with many local shelters such as Watching over Whiskers and Eden Animal Haven. The organizations brought cats to the clinic for as part of the celebration.
Lesley Sawyer, founder and president of Eden Animal Haven, acknowledges that overcrowding in shelters is still an issue in southwest Missouri.
“This is a job to tell you the truth that I would be very happy to go out of business in. There’s unfortunately such a huge demand for it, and we are turning away people every day because there’s just not enough places for these animals to go.”
SAAF hopes that by spaying and neutering strays across the region, there will ultimately be less pets in shelters or being euthanized.
Board President Janet Parker says SAAF’s mission of reducing the stray animal overpopulation is highlighted through its feral cat project.
“We have many, many caretakers of feral cat colonies in this community, and we will rent you a cat trap, and will teach you how to catch that feral cat.”
Once the feral cat is caught, SAAF will spay or neuter it, tag its ear, and then release it back into its colony. As the amount of feral cat litters lessen through these efforts, fewer animals are euthanized in shelters around the area.