James Bright, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Animals adopted from the Chickasha Animal Shelter could possibly go home with a major surgery already performed free of cost.
City Manager Stuart Fairburn said he met with Friends Fur Change representatives on Friday to discuss organizing a city spay and neuter program.
"We hope to announce this officially next week, but the big thing today is we are going to use money from a donations account to go ahead and get these guys spayed and neutered, so they're easily adoptable," he said.
The city has looked at a spay and neuter program for months, but Fairburn said it was only recently that offering the service free of charge was seen as a viable solution.
"We have had the money to do this, but we have spent our time determining how to implement it," he said. "With our community, at this stage, we are not going to ask for money at all."
Local adoption events such as fairs will feature animals that have already been neutered, said Fairburn. Animals adopted out of the shelter will be neutered once the proper adoption avenues have been traveled.
"Once we have the paperwork signed we will say, 'Ok, come back in two days, and we will have it taken care of,'" he said.
Those who adopt animals that are too young for the procedure will receive a voucher for the surgery.
Fairburn said the city plans to offer the spay and neuter program to feral animals that live on farms as well as those in city communities as well.
"The feral population isn't just isolated to one area. They're everywhere," said Fairburn. "It's amazing how many there are, but I know where they all hang out."
Fairburn also investigated claims that the Chickasha Animal Shelter was giving away donated food, and found the establishment did pass on expired items.
The investigation was launched after criticism from FUR claimed in-date products the organization donated to the shelter were being sent away.
Fairburn said he managed to clear some of the air with FUR during the Friday meeting.
"I think we are working positively together for the good of all animals now," he said.
Friends Fur Change released a statement on Friday confirming they are happy with the direction the city was moving in regards to the shelter.
"Friends Fur Change was extremely pleased with the city manager's decision to immediately begin utilizing funds to spay/neuter and ready our small friends at the shelter for adoption. We are also very happy about his decision to amend the shelter's budget with funds for food for the animals. This will allow us to concentrate our efforts on community awareness and advertising these precious dogs and cats to their potential forever homes. We look forward to working together with the city to build a shelter program that makes a real difference in the lives of our pet population and makes every citizen of Chickasha proud."
In a previous Express-Star story, Fairburn said excess food from the shelter used to be given to a local farmer. He said the recipient worked with the city to find homes for feral animals, which is why he was given the resources.
"This arrangement was going on for years, well before my time," he said.
FUR complained employees at the animal shelter had become difficult to work with this week, and that they wouldn't let volunteers enter the shelter to work with the animals.
Fairburn said although not fully resolved, he is working on mediating the problem.
"We want to make sure they are treated nicely, just like an employee or citizen would want to be treated," he said.