No Kill Columbia's Spay Neuter Project Aims to Save Cats and Dogs

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COLUMBIA - Animal advocacy group No Kill Columbia hopes a new project will help save thousands of animals over the next few years. Established in January, No Kill Columbia's Spay Neuter Project aims to reduce animal overpopulation by creating a low-cost spay neuter clinic to serve the mid-Missouri area. 

In the past four years, the Central Missouri Humane Society euthanized roughly 43 percent of all animals it took in, or 9,105 cats and dogs. No Kill Columbia hopes to reduce the kill rate to ten percent or less.

Melissa Kron, chair of The Spay Neuter Project, said she hopes the need for such a clinic declines over the next few years.

"We would love to see a day where we don't even have enough animals to fix. To where we get to the point where... so many animals are spayed and neutered that we don't have to worry about pet overpopulation," Kron said. 

One mid-Missouri rescue shelter has seen this overpopulation firsthand. Megan Burnam, a board member of Second Chance, said the overcrowding of shelters is a constant issue.

"Overcrowding happens this time of year, it happens almost everyday. We get calls from up to five area shelters that we have worked with in the past, asking us to save animals that are going to die simply because they don't have a spot for them," Burnam said. 

In addition to saving animals' lives, spaying and neutering also increases the health of both cats and dogs. Not only can it reduce aggression in male cats and dogs, but it can also decrease the risk of uterine and mammary cancer in females.

Kron contended spaying and neutering also benefits taxpayers.

"Stray animals are required to be held for seven days, so if animal control picks up an animal and has to feed, care for it and then put it to sleep, that's a complete waste of taxpayer money that could be spent on other things," Kron said. 

In order to adhere to its mission of reducing pet populations, the group hopes to make spaying and neutering accessible for all mid-Missouri pet owners. The clinic said it will charge no more than $60 per dog and $40 per cat. The group also plans to provide a free shuttle service to surrounding mid-Missouri counties.

No Kill Columbia needs to raise roughly $105,000 to pay for start-up costs and renovations of its future facility in Columbia. Kron said PetSmart Charities will donate $85,000 in medical equipment. Once operating at full capacity, the clinic will be able to do between 33 and 35 surgeries per day, or about 8,000 per year.

Over the next few months, No Kill Columbia is hosting several fundraising events in hopes of reaching its goal of opening by the end of the year.