LUMBERTON — Pet owners who have been thinking of having their four-legged friends sterilized have 12 days beginning Monday to get a bargain on the procedure.
The Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association’s twice-a-year SNIP (Spay/Neuter Improves Pets) program runs from Monday through March 16. During that time, the county’s six veterinary clinics will spay and neuter cats and dogs at a discounted price.
“Each of the six animal hospitals in the county is participating in the program,” said Dr. David Brooks, a veterinarian at Pembroke Veterinary Hospital. “I doubt there’s another county in the state that’s doing it.”
Any pet owner can take advantage of the program, as it’s not based on income.
“Some people just don’t want to get their animal spayed or neutered because they are afraid of the surgery and their animals being put under anaesthesia,” said Dr. Marilyn Duda, a veterinarian at Southeastern Veterinary Hospital. “But some people are just not aware that there are programs to assist with the cost of it.”
The cost to spay or neuter an animal can climb as high as $150 depending on the size and breed of the animal, Brooks said, adding that pet owners should call their veterinarians to ask about prices.
The overpopulation of pets has been an ongoing issue in Robeson County. As many as 5,000 animals had been euthanized yearly at the Robeson County Animal Shelter as recent as a few years ago, but that number has been on the decline as adoption efforts have increased.
“The real problem is owners not accepting the responsibility of being a pet owner,” Brooks said. “I don’t think some of them quite understand that it takes a lot more than just food and water to provide proper care for the pet.”
Pets require proper medical attention, and sometimes that includes getting spayed or neutered, Brooks said. Spaying or neutering eliminates the risk of unwanted litters — and discarded animals.
“All too often they end up dropping them off at a friend’s house, on the side of the road, by the trash Dumpster — even in the trash Dumpster,” Brooks said.
The spaying or neutering of pets also curbs certain health issues, he said.
“It would control zoonatic diseases from spreading,” he said. “That’s a disease that could affect both humans and animals. The most common disease is rabies.”
Brooks said spaying a female animal can lower her risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer, and could prolong her life.
Bryon Lashley, director of the Robeson County Animal Shelter, said it has room for 115 dogs and 34 cats. Animals are euthanized as more arrive and their time runs out.
“The state gives us 72 hours to hold them before putting them down, and the county gives us an additional two days,” Lashley said.
The following clinics are participating: North End Veterinary Clinic, 910-738-9368; North Star Veterinary Clinic, 910-858-2525; Southeastern Veterinary Clinic, 910-739-9411; Baird’s Animal Hospital, 910-739-4998; South Robeson Veterinary Hospital, 910-628-7178; and Pembroke Veterinary Hospital, 910-521-3431.