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Celebrating World Spay Day in Morgantown

Each year, around 74 countries across the globe celebrate World Spay Day to recognize the importance of spaying and neutering our pets. The annual event is held the last Tuesday of February and caps off National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month in the United States. 

First initiated by Doris Day and her Animal League as Spay Day USA in 1995, the annual event has grown to global proportions and is a contributing factor to saving the lives of millions of dogs and cats that may have been euthanized in overcrowded shelters. 

Local animal advocacy groups work year-round providing no-cost financial assistance vouchers to area residents who otherwise may not be able to afford the often-costly surgery, and many groups ramp up those efforts with events held throughout February. 

On Monday and Tuesday, Mountaineer Spay and Neuter Assistance Program (M-SNAP) sponsored two full days of spay and neuter surgeries at SNIP WV (Spay Neuter Incentive Program of West Virginia), Morgantown’s high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter clinic located in Sabraton. On Monday, they sponsored dog surgeries and Tuesday was for owned cats. Spay is the term for the female surgery while neuter is for males.  

M-SNAP Treasurer Nancy Young said they have always tried to get a high volume of vouchers out to the community that could be used at participating veterinary clinics in the area and they continue to do so, but since the SNIP clinic opened in 2022 the process has gotten a lot easier. 

“We just don’t have enough appointments available through our clinics to get as many vouchers as we are doing,” Young explained. “We have so far issued over 16,000 vouchers since we started and have spent $1.8 million on surgeries. That’s a lot of cats and dogs and a lot of volunteer work. It is so nice to be able to say we’ve got this amount of money to spend this year and we’re going to spend it at SNIP for the most part.” 

Another benefit to holding the Spay Day event at SNIP is the surgeries are done that day. With the voucher system, an owner could hold on to that voucher for months or not schedule the surgery at all. 

Since they opened in July 2022, SNIP has made a big impact in north-central West Virginia performing 9,187 spay or neuter surgeries as of today, according to Executive Director Alyssa Shade. This year they have already done about 1,400 surgeries, putting them on pace to eclipse the 5,645 done in 2023. 

Including the two days sponsored by M-SNAP, the high-volume clinic has partnered with several other area groups and hosted a few special days in February to celebrate Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. By the end of this month, they will have performed 683 surgeries. 

Throughout February, they also held three feral days — sponsored by Marion County Humane Society, Appalachian Peach Paws and SNIP WV — with one more scheduled this week sponsored by Mountaineers for Mutts.  

Three high-volume dog days were held at the clinic as well, Shade said.  

“It’s pretty difficult to get a dog appointment. To give some context, the dogs surgeries take two-to-four times as long as a cat surgery depending on how much they weigh, so we can’t do as many a day as we can with cats.” 

Moving into this year, Shade said they are increasing their dog surgical capacity to accommodate more dogs and in February were able to see 151 dogs compared to the 50 dogs a month they had been doing previously. 

Young said in addition to sponsoring the two days at SNIP, M-SNAP volunteers showed their appreciation for the 11 local veterinary clinics that accept M-SNAP spay/neuter vouchers by bringing thank-you bags to the 256 employees who work at the clinics. 

While vouchers are given to owners at no cost, that does not mean they haven’t been paid for along the way, Young said, and M-SNAP, a nonprofit organization, does that primarily through donations and their “Retails” store location at the Morgantown Mall. 

“Retails is a big fundraiser for us. It’s how we pay for all these free vouchers,” she said. The Retails thrift store is located inside the mall near Dunham’s Sports and The Shoe Department. 

To donate to M-SNAP or to learn more about how to get a spay/neuter voucher for your pet, visit their website

For more information about the services and pricing available at SNIP WV, visit their website

Spaying female animals and neutering males is the most-common solution to reducing the number of unwanted, abandoned, stray, and feral animals. Performing these important surgeries for local animals will help eliminate euthanasia as a necessary means of pet population control in our area.  

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