Every year, about 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats go to animal shelters throughout the United States, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
At the Humane Society of Greater Miami shelter in North Miami Beach, 16101 W. Dixie Hwy., about 300 unwanted dogs and cats wait to be adopted, according to the group’s website.
To reduce the unwanted-pet population, the Humane Society performs free spaying and neutering of dogs and cats for anyone who receives Medicaid; food stamps; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food and nutrition service; or Supplemental Security Income.
“Being a college student, spaying surgery for my dog is nowhere within my budget, but after hearing that there was a free spay-and-neutering service locally, I took my dog Zarco,” said John Rincon, 18, a junior at Florida International University.
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An added benefit to neutering Zarco, a large male American bulldog: “Since the surgery, his behavior has improved immensely,” Rincon said.
“I would suggest to all people eligible, take this offer and help improve our community and their pets’ lives,” he said.
It is impossible to know how many stray dogs and cats are in the United States, but it’s estimated there are up to 70 million stray cats, according to the ASPCA.
“Only 10 percent of rescued animals in shelters have been spayed or neutered,” said Vanessa Moreno, who works for Miami-Dade Animal Services, which for the past two years has partnered with the Humane Society to reduce the county’s stray-pet population.
The Humane Society encourages residents to bring captured stray cats to the group’s spaying and neutering clinic, 10700 SW 211th St. in Cutler Bay, by 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. No appointments are necessary.
Qualified pet owners don’t pay for the surgeries, nor do strangers who bring in roaming community cats. Other pet owners must pay to spay or neuter the animals. Prices at the Cutler Bay clinic are $33 for owned dogs and $18 for owned cats. Prices at the North Miami Beach clinic for dogs range from $60 to $90 for males, based upon weight; and $90 to $120 for females, also based on weight.
Last year, the Humane Society performed nearly 11,000 spay and neuter surgeries.
In addition to being sterilized, stray dogs and cats receive free rabies vaccines. Cats also are vaccinated against the deadly airborne viruses rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.
Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized, the ASPCA says.
The Humane Society describes itself as an “adoption guarantee center” where “time is never an issue” and stray animals are “safe from euthanasia.”
“Together we can achieve a no-kill community and ultimately keep our pets in homes rather than on the streets or in shelters,” Humane Society of Greater Miami Executive Director Laurie Hoffman said in a news release.
To learn more
For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Humane Society of Greater Miami, visit www.humanesocietymiami.org or call 305-749-1854.