As the pandemic continues to take a toll on Central Coast pet families, C.A.R.E.4Paws is introducing its free mobile spay-and-neuter services and low-cost vaccine clinics to San Luis Obispo County this month, joining forces with SLO County nonprofits Animals in Need Fund and Animal Shelter Adoption Partners.
The goal of the new animal welfare initiative, called Snip & Chip SLO, is to fight pet overpopulation and pet homelessness in SLO County by ensuring that community members struggling financially have access to affordable spays and neuters and other basic pet care.
The first two Snip & Chip SLO Pet Wellness Clinics will be held Feb. 20 and March 20 at Nipomo Dog & Cat Hospital, 525 Sandydale Drive, Nipomo.
Veterinary teams from the pet hospital and C.A.R.E.4Paws will perform at least 150 free spays/neuters by prior appointment. (Inquiries can be made through snipslo.org.) Plus, dogs and cats can receive low-cost, walk-in vaccines, flea treatment, deworming medication, nail trims and microchips from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Pet care can be very expensive, forcing families to choose between paying household bills or altering and vaccinating their animals,” said Isabelle Gullo, co-founder and executive director of C.A.R.E.4Paws, a nonprofit that assists thousands of families in need in Santa Barbara County annually by providing affordable mobile spays/neuters, veterinary care and vaccine clinics as well as pet food distribution and other safety-net services.
“The key to preventing pet homelessness and suffering is to work directly in underserved neighborhoods, building relationships and ensuring pet families have access to the services they need. Not only do you improve the quality of life for these pets and pet owners, but you enhance the welfare of the whole community,” she said.
Since the pandemic started, C.A.R.E.4Paws has received a growing number of spay/neuter inquiries from low-income families in SLO County, a majority from Nipomo and Oceano. The nonprofit’s clinic team has accommodated many of these requests, even though C.A.R.E.4Paws’ main service area has, until now, been Santa Barbara County.
“It’s hard to say no when the animals may not get altered otherwise,” said Ms. Gullo. “Pets don’t know the county line, and pet overpopulation affects everyone on the Central Coast. Now that we’re officially expanding to SLO County, working with two great nonprofit partners, we can serve more people and pets in a larger geographical area.”
According to ASAP’s co-founder Terry Parry, SLO County has too many unwanted pets and, while past and existing pet adoption programs have been successful, it’s not enough.
“We cannot adopt our way out of this,” she said. “Snip & Chip SLO will promote animal wellness and lower the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, which reduces intake numbers and euthanasia rates at our Animal Services shelter.”
To reach and help as many families in need as possible, the Snip & Chip SLO team looks to partner with local veterinary clinics, pet service providers and other animal and social welfare groups.
“Snip & Chip SLO is a community effort, and we hope everyone will come together to support this important project,” said Dr. Robin Shroyer, co-founder of the Animals in Need Fund and former owner of Nipomo Dog & Cat Hospital, a Snip & Chip SLO sponsor. “The support from the people of SLO County helped bring the shelter euthanasia rate at SLO County Animal Services to near zero, but pet overpopulation threatens to undo this hard work. Snip & Chip SLO eliminates obstacles that prevent animals from getting altered and receiving proper care.”
For more information about Snip & Chip SLO,call 805-242-2205, visit snipslo.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.