By JESSICA AUNKST
Every time my fiance and I visited the Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2012, we saw its company car with a "spay and neuter" magnet decorating the bumper.
I never seriously considered the benefits of spaying and neutering until adopting my beagle-black labrador mix. Of course the thought occasionally crossed my mind, and although I entertained the idea of helping the cause, my busy schedule never allowed much time.
I've owned Delilah Moon, my dog, for a year and four months now. She was that uncomfortable, scared canine trapped in the last section of cages surrounded by many loud dogs barking for attention. Because of the fact that she was a stray, I know that she would want me to save innocent, loving animals from death by spreading the word about World Spay Day.
World Spay Day is an annual campaign led by the Humane Society that shines a light on the process of spaying and neutering animals.
The process saves the lives of homeless dogs and cats who might otherwise be put down in a shelter or killed on the street.
February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and World Spay Day will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Feb. 25.
Angie Umstead, volunteer at the Lycoming County SPCA, said that spaying and neutering is important "to keep the population down, especially with cats."
"Especially during the summer, we get boxes of kittens," said Kelli Smith, another SPCA volunteer.
According to Umstead and Smith, the approximate amount of stray cats at the SPCA is 80 percent. There are fewer stray dogs - only about 20 percent of the dogs temporarily held at the SPCA were strays. "Many more dogs go back to their owner," Smith said.
The reason most people don't get their pets spayed or neutered is because of the cost of the operation. However, there are many shelters, veterinarians and organizations that are ready to help. Some of the options to make this process affordable include gathering information from the local humane society or animal shelter, talking to the veterinarian who might be able to work out payment arrangements or contacting Care Credit, which offers credit plans for veterinary services.
The employees and veterinarians at the Lewis Veterinary Clinic, 6465 N. Route 220 Hwy., Linden, will celebrate World Spay Day by taking surgery appointments for a discounted price starting. Discounts will be offered for spay and neuter appointments. Owners should bring vaccination records the day of the surgery. The Lewis Veterinary Clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday; and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
To schedule an appointment call 570-326-9640.
For more information about the Lycoming County SPCA, call 570-322-4646 or visit the shelter to make a donation or adopt a pet.
For more information and cost alternatives, visit www.humanesociety.org/issues/spay-day.