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6:33 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Spay/neuter fund donations reduce animal homelessness

Courtesy photo<br>Dr. Redmon (back left) and her staff stand ready to provide quality spay/neuter and wellness services to your pet. Call 771-0547 to see if you qualify for free or low-cost YHS services.

Courtesy photo<br>Dr. Redmon (back left) and her staff stand ready to provide quality spay/neuter and wellness services to your pet. Call 771-0547 to see if you qualify for free or low-cost YHS services.

The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic, located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott, will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Sept. 17 - and this facility has given our entire community tremendous cause to celebrate.

During the decades before opening this clinic, our community rounded up nearly 6,000 lost and homeless animals annually - and then struggled to "re-home" them. We were often forced to euthanize nearly half just to make space for the constant flow of incoming animals.

In less than three years, the number of lost and homeless animals rescued annually in our community declined 45 percent (from 5,887 to 3,254), and the number of animals euthanized each year plummeted 92 percent, from 1,602 to 133.

The importance of the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic may be better understood by drawing on the following analogy. Imagine a large broken water pipe flooding your basement. It would be silly to run down into the basement to start mopping up the mess without first turning off the water. However, that was precisely what our community did for decades prior to September 2009.

From the day the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic opened its doors, it has been turning the water off and helping establish our community among the safest in the nation for pets.

The quality care provided by the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic is second to none and was nationally recognized with the prestigious Humane Alliance Certification in February.

In celebration of its fourth anniversary, the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic is making a commitment through its Big Fix program to deny no pet spay/neuter services just because the pet's guardian can't afford it.

The YHS Big Fix program provides free and low-cost spay/neuter services to pets belonging to owners who meet certain income criteria. In addition, pets belonging to active-duty military and all military veterans pre-qualify for free spay/neuter services.

This is an enormous commitment, and YHS will need your help to keep it. The good news is we are not alone. Petsmart Charities recently committed to help YHS by granting YHS enough funds to offset the cost of 1,200 spay/neuter surgeries. The grant is restricted to dogs residing in Prescott Valley, Dewey/Humboldt and Mayer, and dog owners must meet certain income eligibility criteria. Call the YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic at 771-0547 to see if you qualify.

If this program proves successful, Petsmart Charities may include cats in future grants.

What about all the pets residing in the many other regions of our community, including the City of Prescott? To meet this need, YHS is partnering with another foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. This foundation is challenging our community to match a $15,000 gift to the YHS Big Fix spay/neuter program.

This challenge gift means your tax-deductible donation will be twice as effective in helping YHS turn the supply of unwanted pets off once and for all. If we can meet this challenge, YHS will have $30,000 to help our community's most at-risk pets' access this life-saving service.

YHS envisions the day when every pet born has a good home and is well cared for all its life.

When you make a donation of any size to the YHS Big Fix program during this challenge, you can double your impact in making this future vision our reality today.

Big Fix donations can be made online at www.yavapaihumane.org/donate or by mail to 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott AZ 86301; or call 445-2666, extension 20, for additional information.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.