Spay/neuter program a free ride

August 30, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Too busy to get your pet fixed?

Don't worry, someone will drive it to the veterinarian's office for you.

And it's cheap.

In an attempt to reduce the 4 to 6 million cats and dogs that are euthanized every year across the country due to a lack of homes for them, a local animal welfare group has teamed up with a similar organization in Harrisonburg, Va., to make sterilization of cats and dogs easier for owners.

Vans that can carry up to 46 dogs and cats will be departing regularly from various points in the Eastern Panhandle and Washington County to the Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic in Harrisonburg for sterilization procedures, said Michael Mahrer, director of development for the National Humane Education Society.

After pet owners pay in advance for a spay or neuter procedure, the vans will take animals to Harrisonburg for surgery and return the animals the next day, said Mahrer, who works out of the Briggs Animal Adoption Center south of Charles Town along U.S. 340.


Any size female dog can be spayed for $65, and any size male dog can be neutered for $55, Mahrer said.

All female cats can be spayed for $50, and all male cats can be neutered for $35, he said.

Mahrer said that is a cost savings to pet owners because it can cost up to $120 to spay a cat and up to $185 to neuter a dog.

Seven trips have been made to Harrisonburg since April, resulting in the sterilization of 253 animals from pet owners in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Washington counties, Mahrer said.

"We fill up every time," Mahrer said.

Mahrer said his group got involved after the Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic contacted him about expanding its sterilization program into other northern areas.

"The Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic is committed to ending companion animal overpopulation by providing low-cost, high-quality spay and neuter services," the Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic said on its Web site. "We use the highest standards to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet during his or her stay at the clinic. We also offer low cost vaccinations at the time of surgery. The Clinic is open to everyone regardless of income or place of residence."

Mahrer said other programs exist in other parts of the country.

"They have equipment in the vehicles to operate on animals right then and there," Mahrer said.

The next vans leaving Briggs Animal Adoption Center are scheduled for Sept. 9 and Sept. 23, Mahrer said. Mahrer said he expects to have a van leaving Briggs Animal Adoption Center every other Tuesday for the rest of the year.

A pickup is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Falling Waters, W.Va., and another is set for Sept. 16 in Hedgesville, W.Va., Mahrer said.

Pet owners interested in the program may call 304-728-8330 or learn more about the Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic at

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