• 59°

Maddie#039;s big fix helps pet population

In mid-2001 a new low-cost spay and neutering program known as "Maddie's Big Fix" was implemented by participating veterinarians and animal hospitals across the state of Alabama.

Some 6,324 animals have so far undergone operations across the state as a result of this program's implementation by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association and underwritten by a grant from "Maddie's Fund", a California pet rescue foundation.

However, there are "many, many more pet owners who could benefit from this program. All one needs is a Medicaid card for proof of income eligibility," says Greenville veterinarian Dr. Bill Watson. (State laws also require animals to have a current rabies certificate.)

"Some people have the mistaken idea this is some federally funded program funneling in their tax dollars

absolutely not true. A lady [named Maddie] earmarked a multi-million dollar donation to assist low-income families with pets.

These funds won't last forever and it would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity in our area," notes Watson.

"The cost of the spaying and neutering program to participants is just $5 for cats and $10 for dogs at any participating vet or animal hospital in the state. So far, there have been 86 surgeries in Butler County. That's good,but we could do a lot better. I want to encourage everyone who falls into the income guidelines and has pets to check into this program," comments Watson.

Some 98 surgeries have been reported in Crenshaw County, 73 in Montgomery County, and 473 in Covington County during the first six months of the program. However, only one surgery was reported in Lowndes County and none in Wilcox County.

"Pet over-population is a serious problem in our state. In Butler County alone last year we had to put 1,600 dogs and cats to sleep. That is an absolute shame and disgrace.

"The expense involved in having pets fixed' causes a lot of people to keep putting it off. I strongly encourage anyone who meets the eligibility requirements to take advantage of this program. This can save a lot of animals' lives, keep them from ending up suffering, starving on the streets, or getting run over," says Watson.

Up to six pets per household are eligible for surgery in a six-month period.

Those interested in learning more about Maddie's Big Fix are encouraged to check with their local veterinarian or animal hospital.