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Volunteers use their noodles to reduce animal populations

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Columbus’ Anne Henderson is a fan of animals and sweets — and hopes others like her come with a sweet tooth to Sunday’s Spay-ghetti Dinner fundraiser.

Henderson is among volunteers making desserts to accompany the meal’s main course of spaghetti, salad and bread. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Columbus’ Tre Bicchieri, 425 Washington St. The seventh annual event by the local, nonprofit Community Animal Rescue Effort raises about $10,000 per year for spaying and neutering dogs and cats to fight pet overpopulation.

Henderson aims to make gluten-free treats — a vanilla cake and perhaps some cookies. She’s happy to share her specialized baking with others.

Organizers hope to see more than 300 people participate. The more people who attend, the more CARE can make affordable spaying and neutering — as cheap as $20 for what can be a $300-plus procedure at a vet’s office — available to struggling families.

“We believe that a lot of people want to do the right thing,” said Elaine DeClue, CARE’s spaying and neutering coordinator. “I think more people realize that not spaying or neutering can end up being expensive, and they see that it can be difficult to find homes for animals.”

In 2013, CARE coordinated the spaying or neutering of a record 1,450 animals at Bloomington’s Pets Alive.

Caity Robertson, volunteer coordinator of the weekend dinner, knows there still is education and awareness to be spread.

“The homeless animal population is still out of control,” Robertson said. “The more we all spay and neuter, the less of a problem there will be in the future.”

Staff at the City of Columbus’ Animal Services Center on Arnold Drive said the fact that it is still running at full capacity is evidence spaying and neutering continues to be an important need.

Besides the dinner, the event also will include raffles throughout the day for goodie bags and gift certificates.

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