Letter: Effort works to curb pet overpopulation

Effort works to curb pet overpopulation

From: Ellen Robinson, executive director, FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic

Indianapolis

This weekend, nearly 1,000 and cats and dogs from 26 area animal shelters and rescue organizations will be up for adoption at the Indy Mega-Adoption Event. Led by FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic, it’s the largest two-day event of its kind in Indiana and results in scarce shelter space opening up for stray, abandoned and unwanted pets. The event is noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Shelters and rescue organizations from all over central Indiana are participating. In fact, Columbus Animal Control will be providing adoptable animals.

Our ultimate goal with the mega adoption event is to continue to make strides in curbing pet overpopulation. We know what works: an aggressive spay/neuter initiative combined with adoption initiatives. It’s working in other cities, and it’s working in Indianapolis.

Every year, Indianapolis euthanizes fewer animals. Twenty years ago, 20,000 animals were euthanized. Today, that number stands at about 3,000 a year. Fewer healthy adoptable animals die in this city than ever before.

At FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic, we work with our partners to end pet overpopulation. We have performed more than 235,000 spay and neuter surgeries since 1999. We manage Indy Feral, the city’s Trap, Neuter and Release program, and work with dedicated volunteers to sustain spayed and neutered community cat colonies. In 2014 alone, we provided $63,000 in vaccines, medical care and procedures for community cats.

Too often, families and individuals must surrender or abandon their pets because they simply can’t afford the high cost of traditional veterinary care. That’s why we opened a walk-in medical clinic last year, serving sick pets and animals with minor injuries.

The first of its kind in central Indiana, our clinic is modeled after walk-in clinics for humans. Our veterinarians treat everything from coughs to mites to ear infections. Appointments are not required.

The Indy Mega Adoption Event, however, is one of FACE’s most visible and recognizable initiatives. More than 800 dogs and cats were adopted at our event in June, and about 2,000 dogs and cats found new homes through our two events in 2014.

If you participate in the event this weekend, you will find animals of a variety of ages, sizes and breeds. Local rescues and shelters already have done much of the initial adoption work for you, as the animals are fixed, vaccinated and micro-chipped. The adoption fee is $30, which is less than half the price normally charged in some area shelters. The best part? Pets go home with their new owners the same day.

While we are proud of the work FACE, our partners and our communities have done to significantly reduce pet overpopulation, we still have much more to do. Three thousand euthanized animals a year is still too many.