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March 19, 2014

City's funding for neuter program exhausted

CHICKASHA —

Chickasha's complimentary spay and neuter program for shelter adopters came to an abrupt end yesterday due to a lack of funding. 

Director of Community Development Kathleen Easley said the city received  large contributions last year from the city, Friends for Change (FUR) and a private donor. The funds, totaling $33,250 have all been used Easley said. 

"We just don't have any more money," she said. 

Animals adopted out of the city's shelter will still be required to be spayed or neutered. Easley said she will encourage new adopters to seek low cost options for the procedure. 

Since the advent of the free program, Easley said 131 dogs and 30 cats were neutered. The average cost for the procedure is $110 for a dog and $90 for a cat. 

"If we were to receive more money, we will absolutely do it again," she said. 

Mayor Hank Ross said moving forward the council may consider a litmus test to determine whether adopters can afford to neuter their pets. 

"We will bring the budget before the council and go from there," he said. "We end up budgeting more or less for this program next year. It just depends." 

FUR President Holly Franklin said her organization had a verbal agreement with the city manager to pay the difference of spay and neuter costs so adopters would only pay $40.

"We don't have money coming on a constant basis," Franklin said. "We'll have to start more fundraisers."

Franklin said the news that the city can no longer provide money for spaying or neutering animals is surprising because the agreement had just started two months ago and was going well.

Easley plans to ask the city for more money this year. She said the council is currently budgeting for the next fiscal year.

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