Financial aid available for pets to get spayed and neutered
Humane Society offers help to control the pet population
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 06:00 am
Approval for assistance is based on flexible criteria and a variety of factors. Applicants must meet one or more of the following requirements:
- Receiving Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) assistance.
- Receiving social assistance.
- Income level is below Federal Low Income Cut Off (before tax): $22,637 for one person; $28,182 for two people; $34,646 for three people; $42,063 for four people, etc.
- Other special circumstances as reviewed and approved by the PALS Committee, with written documentation provided. Proof of financial need must be provided.
For many people, the decision to buy a pet is often borne out of love. Impact on the pocketbook takes second place.
Now, the Edmonton Humane Society is offering a new financial assistance program to help people with tight budgets get their dog or cat spayed or neutered.
The society expects the Prevent Another Litter Subsidy (PALS) program to be a huge hit.
“Right now our goal in 2012 is to try to have 1,300 animals that are spayed or neutered through this program,” explained Shawna Randolph, the organization's spokesperson. “Ultimately, we want this to be something regular for the community to touch on.”
The EHS receives 13,000 animals each year and more than 70 per cent are not spayed or neutered. Every time the agency adopts out a dog or a cat, the fee covers a range of add-ons including the first set of vaccines, microchip implants for permanent identification and complimentary medical exam. They are already spayed or neutered.
The objective has always been to reduce the number of homeless animals in the Edmonton area.
“It is essential that we do all that we can to try to reduce the number of homeless and unwanted pets that end up at our doors each year in order to prevent having to euthanize to make room for other animals admitted into the shelter,” Randolph said, emphasizing that right now there are so many cats in the facility that they are taking up rooms generally reserved for dogs.
In order to offer this new service, the society obtained a permanent change to its permit to allow it to perform spay/neuter surgeries as approved by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association. Pet owners must still pay a $50 administrative fee to obtain the service, but that is a much more attainable price tag than what can often reach into the hundreds of dollars.
Annie Guerin is one of the first people to take advantage of the offer. The young student recently got her dog, Gino, as a companion who would help keep her safe in Edmonton's inner city. The seven-month-old Husky/Blue Heeler cross was given away for free by someone on Kijiji.
“There are so many free dogs that are on Kijiji. It's disheartening. There's hundreds everyday,” she stated, snapping her fingers. “They just pop up!”
Guerin still knew that she wanted to get him neutered but her studies and her student loans both keep her on a tight budget.
“As a full-time student, it's very costly to have a dog and I did budget for that. I think that it's very important. I think that's why he was put on Kijiji, because of all these expenses. He wasn't neutered. That was the first thing when I got his vet records transferred to my vet, which was something I did right away.”
Her vet quoted $400 for the operation plus another $75 for the microchip implant for his permanent identification. Gino needed shots too – another expense.
After checking around at other veterinary clinics and seeing how prices for spay/neuter surgeries varies from place to place, she thought of the Edmonton Humane Society because she knew that all adopted animals have already had the surgery.
Guerin was thrilled to learn about the PALS program, and then to qualify for the subsidy.
“I thought that was so amazing. I'm so grateful for it. I think it's so important.”
She intends to use the money that she saved to pay for Gino's obedience training, something that she would have had to put off until she could work it into her budget.
For more information about the program and applying for it, call 780-491-3850 or visit www.edmontonhumanesociety.com.