By Sharon St Joan
When an elderly Guatamalan man brought his young pup to be spayed, both looked hopeful, though a little apprehensive, but all went well. She sailed through the surgery with flying colors, and he was grateful that he won’t have to worry anytime in the future about having too many puppies to care for.
SNIP works with many other animal organizations throughout Central America to get community dogs and cats spayed/neutered – or “snipped.” Carla Ferraro, SNIP’s Founder and Executive Director, has developed an amazing, highly successful program.
Veterinarians are trained in the Small Incision Field Surgery Program, then they conduct low-cost spay/neuter clinics. The clinics benefit the vets too, since they gain new clients when the dogs and cats are brought back to them for vaccinations and any vet care that’s needed.
One of the unique features of SNIP’S program is that their first step is to identify a few community leaders in every new city they go to. It only takes a few, very committed local people – then these leaders organize events and act as a bridge to the rest of the community – explaining what spay/neuter is and why it’s a great idea. With the help of volunteers, these community leaders set up spay/neuter clinics, raise funds, and make sure everything is running well for the benefit of the dogs and cats and their people.
SNIP’s emphasis is on community animals living in low-income neighborhoods, where they often roam the streets. Dogs and cats may have one person who cares for them – or they may rely on several families to feed them and keep an eye on them. People want to do what’s best for their animals, but sometimes they’re not familiar with spay/neuter and its benefits in preventing a situation where there are too many animals to feed and care for – so explaining why it’s such a good idea is essential.
Now, 30% of the community dogs and cats in Costa Rica have been spayed and neutered – and SNIP’s goal is to bring it up to 70%. 30% is already a huge leap forward – from a time not so long ago when spay/neuter was almost unheard of in many rural communities. And Costa Rica is already a no-kill nation!
SNIP, working with local animal groups, conducts many clinics in Costa Rica and Panama. The recent clinic in Guatamala was a wonderful success, with many people bringing their animals.
To visit SNIP’s website, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of SNIP