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According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' website, approximately 6.5 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year. Of those, approximately 1.5 million are still euthanized every year. These numbers are down quite a bit from just 10 years and even five years ago, but they are still staggering.

How can these numbers be lowered even more? The answer is fairly simple. Owners should spay or neuter their pets. Now is the time to do just that as the new year gets underway and puppy/kitten season is right around the corner.

Pearl Sutton Sr., director of Animal Services-Charleston Animal Society, said, “The solution to pet over-population is affordable and accessible spay/neuter."

Not so long ago, this actually wasn’t that simple. The cost to spay or neuter a pet could be quite high. Fortunately, those costs have come way down in recent years with more low-cost spay/neuter clinics opening around South Carolina. Most of those clinics are found in the larger communities, which still makes access a little more difficult if getting a pet to those locations is a challenge.

There are two low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the Columbia area and one in North Charleston, but those are still an hour or so away for many.

The good news is that mobile spay/neuter vans are also now in operation and taking this much-needed service straight to other communities, including right here in Orangeburg County. The Humane Society of South Carolina out of Columbia is one such group. They currently have two Fido Fixer spay/neuter vans that travel around the state Monday through Thursday to give even more people access to low-cost spay/neuter.

“We hope to have a third van some day," said Dawn Wilkinson, director of the Humane Society of South Carolina.

The Humane Society of South Carolina has found that the need is certainly there.

Many may have already seen one of these vans around town. It’s not easy to miss the large green and white van with the logo "Fido Fixers" on it, along with a big picture of the dog on the side. These vans are fully equipped with a surgical suite, holding space for cats and dogs and all the equipment needed to provide high-quality spay/neuter surgeries, immunizations and other services.

Currently, the Fido Fixer van visits Orangeburg County every week at the Maude Schiffley SPCA, 225 Ruf Road.

These efforts are extremely important and fit right in with a fairly new statewide initiative. Approximately two years ago, the No Kill South Carolina effort began. Abigail Kamleiter, director of No Kill South Carolina of the Charleston Animal Society, said, “The simple fact is that fewer births equals fewer animals that need homes.”

"Our goal is to get to the point where we’re able to save every healthy and treatable dog and cat in South Carolina," Kamleiter added.

One of the best ways to make sure this happens is to spay or neuter pets before they have a chance to breed.

Reaching this goal is becoming more and more attainable, especially with low-cost spay/neuter becoming more accessible.

To learn more about these services or to make an appointment for a pet, contact:

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Contact the writer: mcdrum@embarqmail.com.

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