LORI’S CORNER: The Key to Combating Pet Overpopulation: Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic Program

Downtown Dog Rescue has always been very active in assisting homeless and very low income dog owners get their dogs spayed/neutered free of charge. Over the years, we have all volunteered at lots and lots of free spay/neuter events and have supported all the mobile clinic providers. Without The Amanda Foundation, Sam Simon and the newest mobile clinic Angel Dogs Foundation, most of the clients who get their dogs spayed/neutered would never get it done. Coupons, vouchers, Clinico and other low cost clinics are great, but going into a park, church, or school parking lot with a mobile clinic is the best way to get the dog owners that are the highest risk for allowing their dogs to have multiple litters of puppies.
Do we do these clinic because we just love dogs? We do these clinics because we care about the dog owners in some of the most violent neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, areas like South Central Los Angeles, Watts, or Compton. Even though the mobile clinic is right there, just across the street from the guy with four pit bulls and it’s free, it might not be enough to get him to walk over and ask for information. What we’ve found to be successful is to become a presence in the communities that we serve.
In 2010, Petsmart Charities awarded DDR with a grant to pay for 50% of the cost to spay/neuter 680 dogs living in the City of Compton. The other 50% was supposed to come from the County of Los Angeles Animal Control. We contract Sam Simon or Angel Dogs Foundation the second Saturday of each month, to spay/neuter at least 35 dogs in East Rancho Dominguez Park. Last month, we did a double day, operating our Clinic on Saturday and Sunday and July and August will also be double day months. The challenge is getting the agreed upon funding from the County of Los Angeles. It sure sounded simple when we started this project, provide proof of income for each dog owner and include a surgery receipt.
What we didn’t plan for were all the clients who have no income, are homeless, get paid in cash, are not entitled to any government services, don’t have any form of ID, refuse to give us a copy of their ID and people who just walk up to the clinic while walking their dog in the park and after a long conversation, talking the dog owner out of breeding their dog, we load the dog up on to the truck to be sterilized. We also were not prepared for the number of people who live in Compton but have an ID from a nearby city that doesn’t qualify. Should we turn these clients away? Should we tell them that they don’t qualify because they can’t show proof of income, especially after the dog owner has told us how many litters their dog has had in the past three years? Hell NO! We accept everyone who wants to get their dog spayed/neutered as long as the dog is the required age and is healthy enough.

We also provide transportation to a stationary clinic and boarding when the dog needs to be operated on at a regular vet hospital, again DDR pays for everything. Our average cost per dog is $100. When a DDR friend donates $100 to us, that amount targets the most at risk dog owner who has more than likely already bred their dog, is considering breeding their dog, or can’t prevent their dog from having another litter of puppies. The puppies are often given away free throughout the neighborhood to anyone who shows interest in taking a puppy. Basically, the pups are passed out like candy to people who often can’t afford to vaccinate the puppy, forget spaying/neutering, there is no way that they can afford the surgery or will figure out how to get it done.
If we are ever going to achieve no kill at any of the shelters, more attention must be paid and resources spent on spay/neuter in areas that I call Ground Zero. If you have never driven down Central Ave, I challenge you to take that drive from Downtown LA, through South LA, into Watts and finally Compton. The level of poverty is astounding. You will more than likely, see the dogs, nearly being hit by cars, scavenging for food, running in packs. These are dogs that are not wanted, dogs that should never have been born if more money was put into mobile spay/neuter programs in these same areas.
I also challenge everyone who loves dogs and wants to see changes to go to the South LA shelter or the Downey shelter and look at all the cages after cages full of pit bull terriers and Chihuahuas, the two most popular breeds of dogs to also attend our mobile clinics. Most all of these dogs will be euthanized and they are often the lucky ones. At least they are humanely killed compared to their life on the street, being spray painted by gang members, run over by cars, left to die slowly or chained up and forgotten in a back yard, too weak to bark or even care about barking anymore. I’ve seen all of these situations, including dogs that have been fought and thrown away on the street.
If you love dogs, please get out of your comfort zone and get a reality check of where the “problem” is and become part of the solution. We do this dog by dog at each spay /neuter clinic.
Our next spay neuter clinic will be on Saturday July 10th. We are still collecting children’s books and any dog treats, toys, collars and leashes that you may have to donate for the client who attend out clinic.
You can donate online for a spay/neuter surgery
Downtown Dog Rescue needs everyone’s support to make
our goal of 680 dogs spayed/neuter
in Compton in 2010.
If you want to get involved on any level,
contact me directly: