Urgent Plea from Orange County Animal Services: Spay/Neuter Pets to Avoid Surrenders
Also announces SPCA of Brevard as New Partner
Orange County, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services reported a whopping 37% increase in surrendered pets for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, up from the same timeframe a year ago. In response, shelter workers are imploring the community to spay and neuter their pets to prevent unintentional litters that will likely experience homelessness.
“The primary reason for pet surrender is relocation – due to increasing housing costs. People are being priced out of the area, having to move in with family or facing fewer choices and being forced to reside in places that are not pet-friendly,” said Diane Summers, manager for Orange County Animal Services. “Families are being split up and it’s often the pet that pays the price, especially for large breed dogs who then struggle to find new homes.”
A staggering 85% of pets coming into Orange County Animal Services are neither spayed or neutered and many appear to have already reproduced. The shelter took in 13,454 dogs and cats in the last fiscal year.
Animal Services strongly supports spaying and neutering as a way to combat the pet overpopulation crisis. Data reflects that spay and neuter surgery helps pets lead longer, healthier lives and can have behavioral benefits as well. The shelter offers the “Spay it Forward” voucher program, offering free spay/neuter services to the pets of qualifying low-income Orange County residents.
Since launching in November 2020, Orange County has issued 2,085 vouchers and helped 708 pets be spayed or neutered through partnerships with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, Snip-It and Spay N Save. Of the program participants surveyed, 96% stated they would not have been able to afford spay/neuter without the help of the program.
One such pet owner is Randi Kidd of Audubon Park, who had her dog Nala spayed through the program. “I’m so thankful for the spay/neuter voucher program,” said Kidd. “If it wasn’t for the voucher, I wouldn’t [have] been able to get Nala fixed.” After finding her on Craigslist, the Kidd family took Nala in approximately a year ago. “She’s my best friend, always by my side. My kids love her so much, she is a part of our family and we would be lost without her. She’s my baby.”
Animal Services has now announced partnership with a fourth clinic for the program – the SPCA of Brevard.
“The SPCA of Brevard is proud to partner with Orange County Animal Services. Spay and neuter is the first step to ending unwanted litters, which leads to more animals coming into already extremely full shelters. We believe in being there for our community and its animals, and see this partnership as one way to do that,” said Lacie Davis, Executive Director of the SPCA of Brevard.
“We’re so thankful to have this support from the SPCA of Brevard, we know this will be particularly meaningful for our residents on the county’s east side,” said Summers. “Additionally, they’ve taken in 15 dogs from our shelter over the past two months, for which we are extremely grateful.”
Animal Services is looking to expand the program and identify more veterinary clinics to partner with. Local veterinarians are asked to email AnimalServices@ocfl.net for more information.