In an unprecedented program, Milwaukee’s animal control agency will provide free spay and neuter surgeries to 400 dogs and cats belonging to residents in 12 ZIP codes that most commonly relinquish pet-ownership.
The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission’s 400 program, funded by a $25,000 donation from Oak Creek-based pet food company Stella & Chewy’s, will begin today, June 21.
Stella & Chewy’s supports MADACC’s mission as being the first stop for stray and unwanted animals in the area, says Molly Mulcahy, the company’s vice president of brand marketing. “MADACC also has great insight to Milwaukee areas that have the greatest need,” Mulcahy says.
The shelter looked at where many of their surrenders were coming from, and used that data to choose the 12 ZIP codes to which to target the program. These ZIP codes include: 53204, 53207, 53208, 53209, 53210, 53212, 53214, 53215, 53216, 53218, 53219, 53233.
“We are a government-funded organization. We can’t give away surgeries,” says Kathy Shillinglaw, the volunteer and outreach coordinator at MADACC. “Stella & Chewy’s approached us wanting to make a difference in the community, and asked for suggestions.”
MADACC receives 10,000 animals a year, and approximately 90% of them come into their care not having been spayed or neutered. Shillinglaw says may pet owners don’t spay and neuter their animals because of the cost – $200 to $600 at a private veterinarian.
The shelter already has a low-cost clinic, but wanted to launch an inaugural program of this size to encourage pet owners who can’t afford the surgery to spay and neuter their furry friends. MADACC is also hopeful the MADACC 400 will spread awareness of animal overpopulation and the steps people can take to address it.
The MADACC 400 will be a one-day service: pet owners can drop off their dog or cat at the facility in the morning, and they will be ready to go home by the evening. Shillinglaw speculates it will take about four to six months to get all 400 animals taken care of; the program will run until the end of December 2019. The service must be scheduled in advance, in MADACC’s office (3839 West Burnham St.).
Stella & Chewy’s will also be helping out by giving every pet parent who spays or neuters their fur baby a “goodie bag” filled with their raw natural pet food, a collar or leash and more. The company also will donate food samples to people who adopt an animal from MADACC.
Pet-owners will have to purchase a license for their animals, which totals in at $12.