Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets
Spay/Neuter Initiative Partnership
WHAT IT IS:
BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions is partnering with some of Houston's top pet advocates (Friends For Life, SNAP, Unity for a Solution and others) to reduce pet overpopulation and promote pet wellness in targeted areas of Houston, one neighborhood at a time. The initiative offers free spay/neuter and wellness services to pet owners in neighborhoods with a large number of stray animals and dog bite complaints in the City.
Each pet that participates will receive spay/neuter surgery, a rabies vaccination, a one-year city license, a microchip with lifetime registration and flea treatment.
Dog-related services for BARC’s new beachhead initiative are currently funded by generous financial contributions to BARC and the Houston BARC Foundation. It is a special project, planned and executed in addition to normal BARC operations and expenditure budgets. All cat-related services for this initiative are underwritten by Friends For Life. Each partner in the effort is contributing their expertise and resources.
WHY WE’RE DOING IT:
As the fourth largest city in the United States and with a favorable year-round climate for stray and homeless animals, Houston has a large and ever-growing animal overpopulation problem. Although many individual organizations have worked to help reduce the problem across the community, it has become clear that a strong partnership of pet advocates in Houston needed to come together and take on the problem together.
We’re calling it the “Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets” beachhead initiative as we are targeting specific neighborhoods with a large number of stray animal and dog bite complaints, and we plan to return to the neighborhood with the services until the problem is vastly reduced and hopefully eliminated. Then we plan to move to a new neighborhood and repeat the process.
We cannot adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation problem, and this is a brand new approach to reduce the number of stray and homeless animals in Houston, one neighborhood at a time.
Given the sheer size of Houston and the fact that hundreds of thousands of stray animals roam the streets each day, a strategic approach was critical in order to ensure a true reduction in pet overpopulation across the community over time. Pet advocacy groups in Austin, Texas successfully used this approach (to take on one, specific neighborhood at a time), and we hope to repeat that success in Houston. Although short-term results are likely, we expect to begin seeing larger reduction in intake among Houston shelters in the long term. Why do we expect this project to reduce intake rates at BARC? Because that is exactly what data from Austin shows!
We began the pilot effort for this initiative in a Near Northside neighborhood in July 2013. We have completed three major spay/neuter and wellness events in the area and several “transport” days where BARC and Friends For Life transports pets to a local SNAP clinic for the services. So far, 165 animals (102 dogs and 63 cats) in the area received free spay/neuter and wellness services. This is the first of many areas we will cover in Houston with the free services.
WHERE WE'RE GOING NEXT:
In early 2014, the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets coalition will focus its efforts on an area similar in size to the first target area in a neighborhood just due east of the pilot neighborhood. Just like the first effort, coalition members and volunteers will hit the streets with the news about the free pet services offered through the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets initiative. We look forward to making a huge impact on more and more neighborhoods in the coming months and years.
We will never stop providing the free spay/neuter services for pets in each area that we cover with the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets initiative. We will also never stop educating neighborhood residents on responsible pet ownership. Once we move to the new area in 2014, we plan to shift to a smaller scale ongoing transport effort in the first target area where BARC and Friends For Life No Kill Animal Shelter and Rescue will transport pets to a SNAP clinic for free spay/neuter and wellness services.
Before we move to the new area, we are sending an Animal Control Officer to the first target area with a mission to educate as many neighborhood residents about what it means to be a responsible pet owner. The Animal Control Officer will go out to the neighborhood in a Healthy Pets, Healthy streets truck specifically to be a direct resource for residents in the community; she will answer questions, give advice and help in any way she can to ensure residents understand local laws and view BARC as a resource for pet-related needs in Houston.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
You can begin by ensuring your pet is spayed or neutered, and that they are up to date on their vaccinations yearly. You can also help by educating others about being responsible pet owners.
The speed and scale of the beachhead initiative impact will be a direct function of the funding available. As we continue launching additional efforts in neighborhoods across the community, your donation can help more and more pets get the services they need.
You can donate to BARC for dog-related services in the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets initiative by clicking the link below, or you can donate to Friends For Life for cat-related services here. The cost for the services offered is about $100 per pet. If 10 individuals donate $10 each, one animal can receive the services for free. Any donation helps:
DONATE TO THE CAUSE:
|Donate to the cause online through the Houston BARC Foundation. Please ensure that you add “Spay/Neuter Project” as the description in your donation (the description box is at the top of the page where you type in your credit card number) so that we can ensure your money is dedicated specifically to this effort.|