YOUNG-WILLIAMS ANNOUNCES AGGRESSIVE SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAM AIMED AT SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASING KNOXVILLE’S PET OVERPOPULATION
|Randy Boyd, CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, the makers of the PetSafe Brand; Dr. Michael Blackwell, administrator of Young-Williams Animal Center; and Mark Williams, chair of the Friends of Young-Williams board, greet guests at a reception on Jan. 11 to celebrate the first year of operations of the Young-Williams Animal Village facility at 6400 Kingston Pike. At the event, Dr. Blackwell shared plans for the organization’s new spay/neuter program aimed at decreasing the pet overpopulation and ending animal homelessness in Knoxville.|
Young-Williams Animal Center is rolling out a new and expanded spay/neuter program aimed at even more aggressively decreasing pet overpopulation and animal homelessness in the region.
The spay/neuter program will consist of two parts: the low-cost spay/neuter clinic at Young-Williams Animal Village at 6400 Kingston Pike, which will be available to community members who income qualify for reduced cost surgery services, and the mobile Spay Shuttle, which Young-Williams will utilize to target and alter high-risk animals, at no cost, where they live throughout Knox County.
“The changes to our spay/neuter program are aimed at serving the pet owners in our community with the greatest need and the pets in our community with the highest risk to impact pet overpopulation,” said Dr. Michael Blackwell, administrator of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Every year, we take in roughly 16,000 animals. We must work to decrease the number of homeless pets in East Tennessee, and the most simple and humane long-term solution is to spay and neuter more animals.”
Of the thousands of animals taken in at Young-Williams Animal Center each year, about half are stray or abandoned pets and the other half are surrendered by their owners for various reasons such as not being able to afford to care for them.
The Spay Shuttle, a mobile spay/neuter surgical clinic, is funded by a grant from the Aslan Foundation which allows Young-Williams to provide free services. The animals served by the Spay Shuttle are those that have been identified as being at highest risk for reproduction and then admission to the shelter, based upon breed, age and residence within high-intake neighborhoods in Knoxville and Knox County. This strategic focus will thus have a greater impact upon decreasing the number of unplanned litters and unwanted pets born into our community each year.
High-risk animals include dogs and cats less than six months old, bully breeds of dogs (as these breeds account for a significant portion of the intake population at Young-Williams) and “community” or feral cats. High-incident communities have been identified based on shelter intake data such as the most common areas for stray pick-ups by Knox County and City of Knoxville Animal Control, for animal-related calls to law enforcement and for owner surrender of animals to Young-Williams, for example.
Because the spay/neuter program is an imperative focus, and because the demand for services from the Spay Shuttle has been so high since its launch, Young-Williams has added a clinic at the Young-Williams Animal Village. The new low-cost spay neuter clinic at the Young-Williams Animal Village, funded in part by PetSmart Charities® and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), will provide qualifying local pet owners affordable spay/neuter services for their dogs and cats. The focus of this clinic is broader, because it is important for all community pets to be spayed and neutered.
The standard co-pay will be $35-$65 depending on species (cat or dog) and gender. Additional grants may be available to supplement these low co-pays. Grant availability will change over time, and can be determined when the pet owner calls for an appointment. Typical fees for spay and neuter surgeries in the Greater Knoxville area can average up to a few hundred dollars, depending on gender and other factors.
In order to qualify for the low-cost spay/neuter service, pet owners will need to provide evidence of some form of state or federal public assistance. Young-Williams staff will assist individuals in determining their eligibility. The spay/neuter clinic will open on Jan. 17, and the public is asked to call 865-215-6677 starting Jan. 12 to request an appointment.
According to Blackwell, Young-Williams also will work with organizations in nearby counties to provide spay/neuter services for citizens throughout East Tennessee through the Young-Williams Animal Village spay/neuter clinic. Many East Tennessee counties have limited or nonexistent low-cost spay/neuter resources.
“We’ve been pleased with the success of our spay/neuter program over the past few years, but we believe that this restructured program makes the most effective use of our resources moving forward,” Blackwell added. “It’s more focused and aggressive, and we hope to see an increase in significant positive effects quickly. This is an absolutely necessary step toward achieving a Knoxville community that is able to provide loving homes for all our companion animals.”
“Please call us if you need to spay or neuter your pet, and we’ll help find the best, most affordable solution available to you.”