By Maegan Rocio
The Animal Birth Control Clinic, a nonprofit organization in Waco, is in need of funding after exhausting its biannual Trap-Neuter-Return grant of $56,000 this month. The grant was written by the Heart of Texas Feral Friends, a program that is part of the Humane Society of Central Texas.
Dr. Stacie Layne Virden, president of the Board of Directors at the Animal Birth Control Clinic, said the clinic’s services were funded through the Texas Department of Health and Human Services by way of Animal Friendly Licence Plates sales online.
“Concerning the Animal Friendly Licence Plates’, people that pay for those plates pay extra money,” she said. “That extra money goes into the fund toward the state to fund low-cost or no-cost surgeries, spays and neuters across the state. Less licenses plates have been ordered over the past two years, so there was less money in the fund.”
Echoing Virden’s statement, Carrie Kuehl, executive director of the Animal Birth Clinic, said people supported the cause through the sales.
“The grant wrapped up early,” Kuehl said. “It started slow, but as people understood and used the grant, the word spread. All of the funds were used for spays and neuters, and free rabies shots for cats and dogs living in Waco.”
Kuehl said the clinic was pleased that the community supported the Trap-Neuter-Return Program.
“The volunteer trappers and members of the community want to do the right thing and get them fixed,” she said. “Now we need to apply for a continuous grant, because there are many strays and feral cats that need to be spayed or neutered.”
The Animal Birth Control clinic, at 3238 Clay Avenue, offers surgeries and spays and neuters dogs and cats at a price lower than the market price thanks to its fundraising efforts. The clinic also offers low-cost vaccinations and flea and heartworm prevention medication.
Kuehl said the Trap-Neuter-Release Program helps alleviate community shelters of the growing number of animals.
“We don’t want those animals to have more litters, which are at much higher risk to end up at the Humane Society,” she said. “So everything we do at our clinic affects them, so we want to do as much as we can to reduce the burden at the Human Society and rescue shelters and on municipal budgets.”
Virden said the clinic is running out of room due to the large number of cats and dogs being brought in.
“People are not caring for their pets,” she said. “For every dog you don’t spay, you will have five to ten puppies per litter. Our local shelter was at an 85 percent euthanasia rate because not enough people were adopting. So our theory is if they aren’t born to begin with, we won’t have a problem.”
Virden also said that one in ten puppies or kittens will be passed from home to home or euthanized.
“The surgeries are partially subsidized for the average pet owner. For the low income and the trap-neuter-release volunteers, those are the free surgeries. We are dependent on donors for helping with those. We typically have six to eight surgeries that we need to be free because of the low-income owners and the trap-neuter program.”
Kuehl said community members can still help if they cannot donate money.
“If they have their pet already spayed or neutered, they can help someone they know to help do the same, whether financially, providing transportation or telling them about our service for a reasonable price,” she said. “It’s more important now than ever for people to have their pets fixed because the Humane Society is being restricted.”
The Animal Birth Control Clinic is located at 3238 Clay Avenue. Kuehl said the clinic is accepting donations online to continue its Trap-Neuter-Return program and other services. To donate, go to http://www.animalbirthcontrol.org. For more information, contact the clinic at 254-776-7303.