The Pittman Firm knows that owning a pet can be like having another member in the family. Pets can provide such uncomplicated love, and can also be a great way to teach children about responsibilities. As your Panama City dog bite law firm, we also know that pets are animals, and we support efforts to keep our residents safe, including efforts aimed at controlling the size of the pet population.
The News Herald reports that Bay County Animal Control puts thousands of animals to death each year. In order to lower this number, and to avoid unsafe conditions, the Bay County Animal Control Advisory Committee has prepared a report for County Commissioners aimed at finding a humane method of controlling the animal population. The Committee's top recommendation calls for Bay County to create a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
The proposal involves partnering with Operation Spay Bay, a nonprofit already working on reducing the number of unwanted animals in our region. The committee recommends leasing a surplus county building, potentially an old administration building located at Sixth Street and Mulberry Avenue, to the organization for a nominal fee of one dollar per year. Mary Marie Clemo, president of Operation Spay Bay and a member of the advisory committee, says that the clinic could be up and running in a very short time period.
Operation Spay Bay is working to join the National Spay/Neuter Response Team, part of the Humane Alliance. Membership in the team would make Spay Bay eligible for a $95,000 grant, money that would be supplemented with a $60,000 mandatory match to cover start-up costs. Clemo told reporters they currently have $5,000 available and hope donations will pick up one a location is firmly decided and local leaders can help them develop greater momentum towards becoming a success. The group also hopes to receive a $25,000 annual allocation from Bay County, but Clemo noted that the clinic will be able to open regardless of whether the county provides those funds. The allocation would be put towards sterilizing about 1,000 feral cats annually.
Once the clinic is up and running, it will be self-sustaining based on the budget documents the committee provided to county officials. Committee projections estimate the clinic will perform 7,600 surgeries in the first year of operations, generating nearly $300,000 in income despite offering spay and neuter services at a reduced rate. Sterilization fees at private veterinary offices in Bay County can range from $50 to $300. The clinic proposes rates of $45 for male dogs, $60 for female dogs, $20 for male cats, $35 for female cats, and a reduced $25 rate for feral cats.
Opening clinics that provide low-cost sterilization for cats and dogs has proven an effective measure for controlling the pet populations in other communities. In Dothan, Alabama, a city with a metro population of around 142,700, people has been served by the Wiregrass Spay/Neuter Alliance since 2009. The clinic has observed a 20-30% drop in the number of animals brought into their shelter during that time period.
Controlling the pet population is one crucial way we can reduce the frequency of animal bites in Panama City. Owners should remember that Florida holds them responsible for a dog bite, regardless of whether the animal has shown prior dangerous tendencies. This principle would likely apply to injuries caused by other pets as well. We love pets, but we also believe in keeping our community safe. Our Panama City injury lawyer represents victims of animal bites in our North Florida community. Call today for a free consultation.
For more information on why you should spay or neuter your pet, as well as a link to help you find a low-cost clinic, visit the ASPCA's Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet. For a local resource where you can report a stray/feral animal or find information on pet shelters and pet care, see Bay County Animal Control.