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I am editor and publisher of Clarisel Media and PRSUN Communications, independent media and community social marketing projects. Our mission is to inform, empower and build community.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Because We are their Voice


Due to the tough state of the economy, it is becoming more challenging for some pet owners to care for their beloved cats and dogs. But don't lose hope. Don't let go of your cat or dog so quickly.
There are resources out there to help you keep costs down and your kitty and doggie healthy and at home with you. Bronx Latino speaks to Joel Lopez, administrative and outreach manager of the ASPCA's Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics, about the work the mobile clinics are doing and why Bronxites should take advantage of them.

1. With this economy, many people across the country are releasing their animals to the streets because they say they can't afford them. Others are taking them to shelters. What should pet owners do to cut costs and try to keep their pets in these financially strapped times?

You would be hard pressed to find a New Yorker who is not looking for ways to save money right now. Perhaps the best way to maintain costs on pet care is to ensure your pet is up-to-date on all their veterinary needs. Preventative care, such as yearly vaccinations and dental cleanings, can stop the occurrence of major issues (and major costs) later.

2. The ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics offer free and low-cost spay and neuter services for pet owners. Why should people take advantage of these clinics? What is the average cost if they were to go to a veterinarian to get these same services?

The national average fees for spaying or neutering a cat (including pre-anesthesia tests) averages about $145. For dogs, it's about $200. These averages would be slightly higher for a large city like New York. If you are a New Yorker on public assistance, you can receive spay/neuter services, as well as vaccinations, microchipping, and nail trim for FREE. If you are not a public assistance the fee would be $75. It’s the best deal in town!

3. Many people don't want to spay or neuter their pets such as their pitbulls because they say they would like their pets to mate someday. Why should pet owners who think this way reconsider?

Pitbulls are near and dear to the ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter clinic’s heart. Pitbull owners are proud of their companions and love them dearly. However, statistically, most pitbull offspring end up at the city shelter. Unfortunately, most don’t make it out. Altering these pets will not only decrease the number of animals entering shelters, but also gives them a healthier longer life. What pet owner doesn’t want that?

4. Many people also say they don't want to spay or neuter their pets because they get fat. What do you say about this?

Weight gain is about calorie intake and energy expenditure, just like people. If you feed your pet the right foods in the right amounts, and exercise them regularly, you can keep your pet fit and healthy.

5. What is the main message you would like to deliver to readers about the mobile clinics?

The ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics are here for New York City residents in need and their pets. We are currently out in all 5 boroughs 7 days a week, operating 28, soon to be 32, clinics every week. Not only do we come to your neighborhood, but we make our services as affordable as possible if not free (for those on public assistance). Come take advantage of our services.

6. When and where could people go to take advantage of the mobile clinic and what are the requirements?

To learn where and when a clinic will be available please reach out to our 24 – hour bilingual hotline (877) SPAY-NYC. We can also be found at www.aspca.org/petowners. All instructions and requirements are clearly covered in each of these resources.

7. Are pet owners who don't live in public housing or receive government benefits eligible to take their pets to the clinic? What do they need to bring?

The ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic welcomes all animals, whether they live in public housing or not. For those not on public assistance, all we ask is proof of NYC residency and a fee of $75. For those on public assistance, a benefits card will gain you free services. We also accept Medicaid, Medicare, disability, SSI, food stamps, TANF; rent receipt from public housing, etc.

8. Why is it important for our cats and dogs to have all their shots?

First, vaccinations protect your pets from exposure to communicable diseases. Second, the city requires pets to have proof of vaccination, to ensure the health and safety of the pet and its environment. To learn more about city pet owning requirements please contact the health department.

To learn more about the ASPCA, go to www.aspca.org. -- Clarisel Gonzalez



Editor's Note: Bronx Latino is a project of Puerto Rico Sun Communications, a social entrepreneurship venture. My cat Sol is the mascot of the Puerto Rico Sun project. Support the good work of the ASPCA. PRSUN is currently raising money for the ASPCA via change.org. To donate to the PRSUN for the ASPCA drive, go to http://www.change.org/aspca/projects/fundraising/prsun_for_the_aspca

(photo of Sol by Clarisel Gonzalez)

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