Animal Action League (AAL), a 501(c)3 non- profit corporation, was founded in 1989 for the express purpose of providing spay/neuter services for underprivileged cats and dogs. After working for 15 years in affordable spay/neuter clinics, it became obvious that those in most desperate need of this service were not being reached. Although this service was offered free to low income pet owners, there was as high as a 50% “no show” rate. In checking with these owners, the “no show” cause was due to transportation problems or they forgot, other plans intervened – in other words – such service was not high on the owner’s agenda.
Studies have determined that 3% of the pet-owning population is creating the overpopulation problem; and that this 3% are primarily low income and/or non-motivated pet owners. Bearing in mind that –
TO BE EFFECTIVE, A PROGRAM MUST ADDRESS THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION,
AAL determined that a mobile clinic would be the most effective way to address this issue. We knew we could offer quality, “no frills” service and bring it directly to these communities where these animals most desperately needed help. In 2005, our goal was realized by acquiring a 32 foot, custom built, mobile, spay/neuter trailer.
One such area of concern is Thermal, California, which is a fair-sized area comprised of small, unincorporated towns, several low standard mobile home parks, and the Torres-Martinez Indian Reservation. The most common employment is farm-field work. With this group, our subsidy rate is on average 85%. Our priority is the larger breed female dogs, because their litters tend to be larger and their chance of adoption is minimal. We have never refused to fix a larger female dog based on inability to pay. With the owner’s permission, we usually take the puppies, anywhere from 5 to 26 per visit, and put them up for adoption.
The most difficult issue to combat is dealing with un-motivated pet owners. In attempting to explain the benefits of spay/neuter to these individuals, we have been told “Oh, we just dump the puppies and kittens in the desert, and the coyotes take care of the problem.” However we persist in our efforts and, by providing free spaying and even pick-up and delivery of these pets, we are slowly making a difference. Unfortunately, this area has become a pet dumping ground for people who live in adjacent communities. So, we need to increase the area we have been covering.