Oklahoma's pet overpopulation fund

Monday, January 23rd 2006, 10:27 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma has a pet overpopulation problem and some call it a crisis. There are far too many animals than could ever be provided good homes. The solution is spaying and neutering. That can be expensive, but there is a program called the Pet Overpopulation Fund designed to make the procedure affordable.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells says in Oklahoma, there are too many dogs and cats. The strays get rounded up and taken to shelters. Some get adopted, most are destroyed.

It's a big expensive problem. Dr Mike Jones: "It's big when you look at the fact that we euthanize 100,000 animals a year in the state, at a cost of $50 an animal." That adds up to $5-million a year, just to destroy unwanted pets.

Price is Right host Bob Barker: "Bob Barker reminding you help control the pet population, have you pets spayed and neutered." That is the most widely accepted solution, spaying and neutering.

Take Cheyenne, she's an 18 month old Golden Retriever and she is getting spayed. It'll prevent unwanted litters of puppies and can reduce the chances of some future health problems. Dr Dennis Henson: "Prevention of cancer is a big deal." And there are some behavioral issues that are somewhat improved by sterilization, but it's the overpopulation which the experts believe will be most positively affected by spaying and neutering. Positive perhaps, but pricey, anywhere from about $50 to $250.

Too expensive for many. So the state legislature and the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association created the Pet Overpopulation Fund. Dr Mike Jones: "The overpopulation fund is targeted to strictly the low income people."

Eligible pet owners can get a pet spayed or neutered for a $10 co-pay; the fund will pay the rest. A new animal friendly license plate and contributions from tax payers will fund the fund. Meanwhile, Cheyenne will be home in a couple of hours and back to normal in a couple of days.

You can get more information on the Pet Overpopulation Fund, the animal friendly license plate and about the low cost spaying and neutering at a special website.