Spay/neuter assistance for Pit Bulls

Special to the Times

Representatives from Fairview Animal Hospital (FAH) recently announced that the clinic has received a grant from the Martha and Ruby Charitable Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The $2,000 award is to be used to spay or neuter Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. The Foundation partnered with FAH on this project in hopes of curtailing the number of hard-to-adopt dogs in local animal shelters.

“Pit Bulls are wonderful dogs that are typically very responsive to training, loving and eager to please, but they are among the most common dogs in shelters,” said Dr. Andrew McKnight, owner of Fairview Animal Hospital. “Despite studies showing that Pit Bulls are actually incredibly tolerant dogs with low aggression and panic indicators, the majority of the public perceives them to be dangerous. People simply don’t want to adopt a dog they believe will be aggressive.”

Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes come to animal shelters for a variety of reasons. In some cases, owners must surrender their dogs because of breed-specific rules. Apartment complexes, condominiums and even some neighborhoods ban breeds they consider aggressive, including Dobermans, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. Further, some insurance companies will deny coverage to households with breeds they deem dangerous. Other Pit Bulls and mixes arrive as puppies.

“Pit Bulls are very determined dogs, and - like all dogs - they occasionally want to find a friend,” McKnight said. “So, despite owners’ best efforts to keep them fenced in, they can sometimes escape to find a mate. Then, the owner who did a great thing by adopting a Pit Bull has a litter he or she simply can’t care for and can’t adopt out.”

Anna Ware, member of the Board of Directors of the Martha and Ruby Charitable Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, stated “The only way to solve the problem of pet over-population in the United States is through spay and neuter.” Understanding that some Pit Bull owners do not have the financial means to spay or neuter their dogs, the Foundation partnered with FAH to provide this service to Henry County residents. FAH will use grant funds to pay for the hard costs of spaying and neutering -which includes items like anesthesia, sutures and pain medication - and will donate staff time and facilities to perform the surgeries.

Residents interested in participating in the Pit Bull spay and neuter program must qualify by proving that they are Henry County residents, and all dogs must have a valid rabies vaccination before the surgery will be performed. To find out more about this effort or to sign up, contact Stacey McKnight, CVPM, at 770-389-9757.