City support for a low-income spay and neutering program will continue after the Oklahoma City Council unanimously voiced approval Tuesday. The program, one of the main fronts in the city’s battle to stop euthanizing healthy and adoptable animals at the pet shelter, is a partnership between the city and two animal welfare groups, Best Friends of Shelter Pets and Volunteers for Animal Welfare.
The city will pay $25,000 to keep the effort going through June 30. Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said the council’s support sends an important message to animal welfare employees who deal with the reality that about 19,000 dogs and cats are euthanized at the shelter each year. "I can’t think of a worse job in the city, potentially, than working at the shelter,” he said. "With the numbers of animals that are put down daily there, it’s got to be an emotional burden.”
Vaccination effort gets a boostThe city also put $23,000 toward a new program that will let city workers vaccinate all the animals that go through the shelter. Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman said the program should keep shelter pets healthier, making it easier to find them homes. "We really need to be concerned about the spread of contagious diseases that occurs when we don’t routinely address all the animals that come in,” he said.
The programBest Friends of Shelter Pets and Volunteers for Animal Welfare offer pet sterilization for low-income owners. In the past seven months, 677 dogs and 1,018 cats were sterilized in the program. The city shelter euthanizes about 19,000 animals each year.