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Effort could offer clues to becoming no-kill shelter

BY BRYAN DEAN Published: April 21, 2009
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/articleid/3363272/1/pictures/560311">Photo - A 2-year-old male pit bull mix named Zeus peeks out of his cage Monday at the Oklahoma City animal shelter. The city is hoping a new program to spay and neuter dogs in Del City will significantly decrease the number of dogs brought to the shelter. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
A 2-year-old male pit bull mix named Zeus peeks out of his cage Monday at the Oklahoma City animal shelter. The city is hoping a new program to spay and neuter dogs in Del City will significantly decrease the number of dogs brought to the shelter. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Owners will pay $17.50, or half the procedure’s cost, while the grant pays for the other half.

Why Del City?
English said Del City was picked for the program because the number of animals brought in from Del City is independently tracked, about 750 to 800 a year, and because such a large chunk of the city’s dog population can be included in the program.

Animal welfare officials can compare the number of dogs brought in to the number of dogs sterilized to get an idea of what will make a difference.

"If you sterilize 12 percent of the dog population, and it doesn’t change the intake, then what is the magic number?” English said. "Is it 25 percent? Is it 50 percent? We don’t know, and we have to find that out.”

Once animal welfare workers have their answer, they can go back to PetSmart charities and ask to expand the program.

"Del City is kind of a microcosm for pet ownership in the metro area,” English said. "If we can show that sterilizing 12 percent of a canine population reduces intake by, for example, 5 percent or 10 percent, we can go back to them and say we need this amount of money.”


HOT TO GET HELP
The spay/neutering program will be open to Del City dog owners who can show they qualify for state or federal public aid of any kind. To make an appointment to have your dog spayed or neutered, call Best Friends of Shelter Pets at 629-6795 or Volunteers for Animal Welfare at 606-8476.

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