When the H.E.A.R.T.S. Surgical Utility Vehicle hits town Feb. 1 to perform about 60 spay/neuter surgeries on the pets of seniors and low-income residents, more than half will find that the $20 fee has already been paid for them.
That's $20 these lucky folks will be able to keep for groceries, pet food, utility bills and other necessities.
Major donations from Heart of Georgia Humane Society, which donated $300, and Rivoli Realty, which stepped up with a $200 donation, along with private residents who are adding to the pot, will pay for about 37 of the surgeries.
The H.E.A.R.T.S. SUV will be in town Feb. 1 and 2 to perform the surgery, give rabies shots and microchip the pets. Slots for this visit are already filled, but Susan Brantley Helton, the local Ambassador for the unit, says they'll be back.
Atlanta Humane Society, with grant money from the Holland M. Ware Foundation, sends the self-contained mobile unit to various areas of Georgia for clinics like this to help reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens that inundate Georgia animal control shelters. While springtime is often the worst, since dogs and cats can go into heat more than once a year, unwanted litters are a continual problem that results in thousands of puppies and kittens dying year around in shelters that quickly run out of room for them.
In Macon, 60 pets will not be contributing to the onslaught of unwanted litters this year, thanks to Helton, AHS and GEICO Kennel Club.
Note: While this article was being written, more donors pledged to help pay the $20 fee for others to get their pets altered for free. Volunteers and supporters hope enough donations come in to pay for all of the procedures.
UPDATE: All of the spay/neuter surgeries for Feb. 1 and 2 have now been paid for by donors! County Commissioner Joe Allen pledged to pay for the final 13 unpaid slots. That means none of the residents whose pets will be spayed or neutered at this event will have to pay anything. A big thank you to all the donors who made this possible!
The first visit from the H.E.A.R.T.S. SUV will be at GEICO, thanks to the generosity of that company and the GEICO Kennel Club. Adrianne Stack Moore of GEICO helped plan the event.
Plans are for the unit to return to this area every three months. We will let you know the dates as soon as we get them, with instructions on how to apply for an appointment.