NEWBERRY — County officials are boasting the success of a low-cost spay and neuter program started last year that allows residents to get their cats and dogs sterilized for $30 each.
In 2012, 846 pets were spayed or neutered compared to 130 in 2011. The program is being attributed to helping reduce the euthanization rate at the county animal shelter. In 2011, 1,836 animals were killed but the number decreased to 640 in 2012.
“The program is doing well,” said Leslie Jenkins, county animal control manager.
County Councilman Kirksey Koon said his animals were well taken care of during the surgery and were even sent home freshly shampooed.
The intake of animals into the shelter decreased by 700 and some 647 pets were adopted in 2012.
County Administrator Wayne Adams said half of the 2,000 animals coming into the shelter were brought by owners dropping them off and the other were captured while roaming at large.
Adams said he would like to see the euthanization rate drop even more.
County leaders hope that a new animal shelter facility will also help foster animal adoptions.
The new shelter, located behind the current one on S.C. 34, will open in late spring. The facility will have equipment so it can be washed down and the air will be circulated 10 times every hours.
“It will be more inviting,” said Adams of the new shelter’s environment.
Adams said that the mortality and number of unwanted animals in the county should continue to drop with the new facility and the spay and neuter program.
“These are two of the biggest advancements for animal wellfare in the county,” said Adams.