If recent numbers are any indication, county residents want to help reduce the unwanted pet population, but money could be a problem.
According to Jane Taylor, director of Mayberry4Paws, a recent spay and neuter event drew more people than expected, and a little belt-tightening allowed them to far exceed their goal.
“This project began in October, and the schedule filled up very quickly,” she said. “The clinic was ultimately able to complete 58 surgeries by the end of December as part of this program.
“Our goal was to do 40 surgeries, but the clinic managed to stretch the funds a bit so we were able to serve additional pet owners.”
The project was funded through a $5,000 grant from the Ryan Newman Foundation.
Founded by NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, the mission of the foundation is to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets, to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters and to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation.
Taylor said the initial project focused on just one area of the county where there were a lot of unwanted dogs that often ended up in the Surry County Animal Shelter.
But interest, and budget stretching, allowed them to expand the offer of free spaying/neutering.
“The animals that ended up getting the surgeries were from all around the county,” she said. “We started our focus on one particular area, but due to the extra funds available we were able to go beyond that area.”
Taylor said it only makes since to have pets spayed or neutered.
“The goal of Mayberry4Paws is to reduce the number of pets going into the local shelter,” she said. “If we reduce the number going in, we’ll reduce the number being killed. That’s why we formed our organization and that continues to be our mission.”
Last year, the group managed to pay for more than 400 surgeries to reduce the number of stray animals in the county.
Shelly Nunn, with the Ryan Newman Foundation, said Surry County is special to her.
“My husband and a few friends are from Mount Airy, so we have a soft spot for the area,” she said. “Just over Christmas, a friend of our who works at Penske Racing adopted an 11-week-old pup in Surry County, and I couldn’t have been happier.”
Nunn said the high kill rates at the local shelter is “alarming,” leading the foundation to offer the grant.
“We need to help as much as we can to not only stop the over-breeding and the area of unaltered pets, but to give those that are in the shelter looking for homes a better chance of finding one,” she said.
According to Nunn, the foundation has a great working relationship with Mayberry4Paws.
“In 2012, we awarded Surry County three grants and also donated a surgical light to Dr. Russ at the Surry Spay and Neuter Clinic,” she said. “Jane Taylor contacted us for the grant, and we have had a great working relationship with her group ever since, and the work she and her group does is wonderful.
“Things won’t change over night, and honestly, they won’t change all that much in our lifetime, but at least we are doing all we can to change the mindset of the future generations who think of animals as something they can just throw away,” Nunn added.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.