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SAAF and Animal Control Celebrate Milestones in October

This month marks two significant milestones for Springfield animal groups in their efforts to reduce the local unwanted animal population. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has the story.

The Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation, or SAAF, provides low-cost spay and neuter services to the Springfield-Greene County area. Janet Martin is president of SAAF.

“We opened the SAAF House spay and neuter clinic in August in 2010. And about a week or so ago, we reached our 10,000 surgery. This has prevented the births of more than 61,000 unwanted puppies or kittens, and so we’re pretty excited about that number,” says Martin.

Martin says feral cats make up about 10 percent of SAAF's surgeries; that helps to reduce the homeless cat population on the streets. She adds that with these lower birth rates, less unwanted animals end up in shelters.

“We’re kind of working as partners. So we’re part of the equation because all of the rescues that are working with Animal Control, or almost all of them, bring their animals to SAAF House and we can give them very low rates on spaying and neutering. And then many of the dogs are going to the northeast and Canada where they’re being adopted up there. And because they are vetted down here, and the vet expenses are so high up there, they’re able to funnel more dogs that way. So that’s kind of how we’re working in concert right now,” Martin says.

Karen Prescott is with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Animal Control. She says it is the partnership of Animal Control, SAAF and area rescue groups that have made it possible to go a full year without euthanizing unnecessarily.

“Since October 26thof 2011, we’ve gone without having to euthanize any healthy, adoptable dogs at our facility, which is pretty amazing! It looks like we’ve had about 1,922 dogs come into our facility, and 87percent of those dogs have either returned to owner or were pulled by a rescue [organization],” Prescott says.

Prescott says the intake of dogs into the Animal Control shelter is down by about 15 percent.

“As the number of surgeries increases through SAAF, we’re seeing a decline in the number of dogs coming through animal control. And I have to think there’s a direct correlation there as we are preventing unwanted puppies and kittens, keeping our population down, which is ultimately what we want. We don’t want to build a huge facility and fill it up with animals. We would like to control the population, control the problem, before it gets to us,” says Prescott.

To celebrate these milestones, SAAF and the health department will host a joint celebration on Sunday, October 21 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The event will take place at SAAF House at 1600 North Washington Street. You can find links to more information below.

For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

Click here to learn more about SAAF

Click here to learn more about for more information about Animal Control