Program offering low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to dogs marks major milestones
More than 4,100 dogs from Lucas and Wood counties have been spayed or neutered through the Big Fix program.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Pet overpopulation is a growing problem in communities across the country. Northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are no exception. There’s a special program aimed at changing that in both Lucas and Wood Counties.
It’s called the Big Fix, and it’s been a big success. Laura Simmons-Wark is the Executive Director of Humane Ohio, the clinic that performs the surgeries.
“We see so many unwanted litters of puppies being born in our community, and that means shelters like Lucas County Canine Care and Control and the Wood County dog shelter are filling up quickly with unwanted dogs. Spay/neuter surgery is the solution to that,” Simmons-Wark said.
Humane Ohio is a low-cost spay neuter clinic in Toledo that fixes more than 15,000 cats and dogs a year. Some of the animals have owners and others are from shelters and rescues. The clinic also spays and neuters community cats.
“The demand for spay-neuter never stops. In fact, it’s picked up quite a big since 2020, when more people were getting pets. There is a nationwide shortage of vets. At the same time, the demand for surgery continues to increase.”
The Big Fix is a program focused on licensed dogs in Wood and Lucas Counties. Since it started in Lucas County, 3,180 dogs have been fixed. In Wood County, 1,031 dogs have been fixed since the program started.
“Last year alone, more than 300 licensed dogs in Lucas County and more than 120 in Wood County were fixed through the Big Fix program.”
Here’s how it works: A Humane Ohio spay/neuter coupon is sent to everyone who purchases a dog license in the two counties.
“Since the inception of the Big Fix, more than 4,000 licensed dogs have been spayed and neutered in the two counties.”
Licensed dogs in the two counties could be fixed for just $15 this year.
“The spay/neuter surgeries of licensed dogs in both those counties were subsidized, so owners only have to pay a fraction of the cost. The rest is taken care of through donations from the community and county commissioners to help offset the cost and make sure people are getting their dogs spayed or neutered.”
But even with all the success of the program, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“In Lucas County in 2022, there were more than 41,000 dogs licensed. 29% of those dogs were not spayed or neutered. That is a huge number we have to work together to reduce.”
The numbers clearly illustrate the big need for the Big Fix. There are a couple changes to the program for 2023. In Lucas County, it will only be for licensed Pit Bull-type dogs next year. The cost will stay at $15 for the surgery.
The spay/neuter fee for all licensed dogs in Wood County for next year will go from $15-$20.
And just to be clear, the spay/neuter cost through the big fix is in addition to the license fee.
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