BY AGUE CRUIZ
Photo courtesy of snipbus.org. One of the SNIP Busses offering low-cost services to pet owners.
A non-profit organization has raised over $700,000 since June 2016 to bring the community low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for over 8,500 animals. Melanie Scherer, president of the Spay/Neuter Imperative Project Bus and founder of the Luke’s Legacy Foundation, has given us the solution we need to stop the death of unwanted pets due to overpopulation and illness, as stated on snipbus.org.
Finding inspiration from Bob Barker and his initiative in spay and neuter from the ‘70s, Scherer, after working for 8 years rescuing animals put her foot down and brought attention to the real problem plaguing our area with unwanted death tolls of innocent animals.
“By controlling the problem [overpopulation], Animal Control can do their job of sheltering animals and returning them to their owners,” Scherer said. With the assistance of the Luke’s Legacy Foundation, founded five years ago to support rescue groups and families in need with spay/neuter, transport, foster, rescue and emergency medical needs of dogs and cats, Scherer been able to bring her SNIP Bus to people at a low cost of $25 per surgery and even lower prices for vaccinations and microchipping.
“The need for low-cost services has been there,” Scherer said in response to why she started the organization in this area, “People told me ‘They won’t come, no one will come,’ but I have lines and lines without much promotion because it’s what people need. I had a young woman reach out to me because she was so appreciative of what we do that she asked me to promote over the radio since most of her community couldn’t even read English or Spanish, but they needed the solution.”
With almost 8 million animals in shelters nationwide each year and nearly 3 million of them being euthanized due to lack of space, it opened up the perfect opportunity to bring an end to the unnecessary deaths of so many loveable animals.
According to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services’ website, 35% of animals taken into their shelters died/euthanized within the past fiscal year. The prior fiscal year had only 13% of animals taken in as strays returned to their owners and the rest, if not adopted within three days, were on their way to euthanasia. “The numbers don’t lie, and it’s an easy fix… we just can’t give up. Low-cost spay neuter saves lives,” Scherer said.
SNIP Bus offers 4 to 8 clinics per month, posted on a calendar on their website snipbus.org, where dogs and cats aged at least eight weeks and two pounds can be spay/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and nail trimmings at very low-costs. With clinics placed at places like rehab centers, local markets and churches, it’s more accessible in sparse areas such as Thermal and Mecca.
SNIP believes that by spay/neutering pets, people can bring themselves to stop the problem the community has been facing for years and bear forth a future of loved pets and hopefully a smaller population of them being held in shelters and offering the possibility that they are euthanized.