ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County Animal Services (ACAS) announced today that they have been awarded $20,000 by the Florida Animal Friend License Plate Fund to provide free spay/neuter surgeries on cats and dogs from low income households in Alachua County, as well as any pit bull breed from any household in Alachua County.
The Florida Animal Friend license plate fund began in 2005 in an effort to reduce the number homeless dogs and cats that are euthanized each year. In 2008, the organization funded more than $350,000 to non-profit shelters, veterinarians and government agencies to develop spay/neuter programs. The allocated funds came from the sale of the "Florida Animal Friend" license plate by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Each plate sold generates approximately $25 to the fund. Anyone interested in purchasing this plate should contact their local tax collector's office.
Alachua County residents who qualify under the federal guidelines for low-income (see Figure 1) may schedule their dog or cat for spay or neuter surgery at the Animal Shelter. The cost of the surgery is being subsidized by the $20,000 grant from the Florida Animal Friend License Plate Fund. Alachua County residents who own any breed of pit bull may also qualify for spay/neuter surgery under this grant. Unlike the $10,000 PetSmart Charities Grant that ACAS has been servicing since July, this new program does not cover the cost of a rabies vaccination and current license (which will be $14 for cats, $21 for dogs). The rabies vaccine and license must be paid for by the pet owner.
Figure 1 - Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, 2008
2008 Federal Poverty Guidelines
Size of Family
For each additional person add:
Qualified pet owners should come to the shelter to establish eligibility for the program. Low-income pet owners will be required to show proof of identification and either proof of government assistance or a recent (within two weeks) pay stub to establish eligibility. Proof of residency in Alachua County will also be required. Pit bull owners just need to bring their dog to the shelter for an examination to verify it as a Pit Bull breed. Once these eligibility requirements have been met, an appointment will be set for the procedure.
On the day of their appointment, owners will need to bring their dogs to the shelter at 8:30am sharp for an initial exam and intake. Late-comers will be required to set another appointment time. Animals cleared for surgery must then be picked up at 4:30pm sharp that same day. As ACAS closes at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and does not reopen until the following Tuesday, Saturday afternoon pickup times must be strictly observed.
This new program at ACAS joins other local spay neuter programs, such as the PitNip spay/neuter program administered by West End Animal Hospital in Newberry (352-472-7626) and the Humane Society's Gallenkamp spay/neuter voucher program (352-373-5855), among many others, in the fight to control the population of unwanted pets.
"We remain committed to the goal of eliminating homeless pets in Alachua County," explains ACAS Director David Flagler. "Programs like this help remind folks that responsible pet ownership also means taking responsibility for controlling the pet population in Alachua County."
Residents interested in scheduling their pets for a spay/neuter appointment should come directly to ACAS (3400 NE 53rd Avenue, Gainesville) with the necessary information to determine eligibility. For more information or if you have questions about eligibility, please contact the shelter at -352-264-6870.