The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation has been awarded a $135,000 grant to buy a van that will travel around New York State spaying and neutering pets.
The group announced the grant, which was awarded through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in a press release last week. The van, which has been a dream of the animal shelter foundation for years, will be fully functioning and ready to go in the new year.
Now the foundation is looking for locations to park the van and offer the neuter and spaying services. The van will stay in each spot for an entire day, with spaying and neutering done by appointment.
“Our goal is to help decrease the population of unwanted animals by offering low-cost spay and neutering services,” Pat Gray, managing director for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, said in a press release. “We thank the ASPCA for giving us the opportunity to accomplish this goal, one community at a time.”
The fully equipped van will make its first rounds in January, with its first stop on January 12 at the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. The van will be on the site from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m., and procedures will be done by appointment only. Anyone wishing to schedule an appointment to have their pet spayed or neutered should call the shelter at 728-PETS.
Other stops in January include the Southampton Youth Services Center on January 18, Riverhead Polish Hall on the 19th, the Hampton Bays Ambulance headquarters on Ponquogue Avenue on the 25th, and the YMCA in Patchogue on the 26th.
“We are going to be going all over New York State, helping people who need to spay and neuter their animals,” Linda Goldsmith, a public relations agent for the foundation, said this week. “It is very important that we do that; the shelters are overcrowded with homeless animals.”
According to Ms. Goldsmith, the van will offer spay and neutering services, rabies vaccines and microchip installations. At the time of the appointment, the animal will be placed under general anesthesia and the procedure will be performed in the van. The animal cannot eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, and the stitches used will eventually dissolve on their own.
“We are just honored to get an ASPCA grant,” Ms. Goldsmith said. “They do such good work, and we know that we established a very good reason for why we need the van out here, to help our communities.”
The schedule for the van will be posted on the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation website at Southamptonanimalshelter.com. The van is designed to help low-income communities, or communities with overused shelters. According to Ms. Goldsmith, the main goal is to help people understand the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
“Education is the key to getting the word out that spaying and neutering is crucial,” she said. “The shelters are too full with unwanted and homeless animals for whatever reason.”