This was the response when I was asked what I had been up to since finishing my term as Board Chair of the Humane Society of Charlotte and I would say “starting a nonprofit spay neuter clinic.” After I would repeat, (making sure to speak more slowly and enunciate) “a spay neuter clinic,” most folks would appear a bit puzzled.
A look of vague understanding might cross their faces when I would elaborate, “you know, fixing animals.” Typically this was followed by most men squirming uncomfortably (I imagine they were thinking about their own nether parts) and pretty much everyone else staring at me with that “has she finally turned into the crazy cat lady” expression.
My family would tell you that the jury is still out on the crazy cat lady thing but all who know me well are aware that I am deeply passionate about fixing the homeless animal problem in our community.
So, the short answer to “a what?” Because it is a concrete way to stop the killing of more than 12,000 cats and dogs here in Charlotte each year. (Did you know?) Some of the people I talked to had a vague recollection of a series in the Charlotte Observer years ago about death at the pound, but most had no idea how many pets die here each year unnecessarily. And, although I know it isn’t always pleasant to hear I have to tell them (and you) an uncomfortable truth. Charlotte has a problem, a big problem that doesn’t make us a world class city where animal welfare is concerned. My goal is to speak the truth and solve the problem. First step – more, lower-cost spay neuter.
So 18 months, a legal document designating nonprofit status, an affiliation with the Humane Alliance’s National Spay Neuter Response Team, a lease on a building on N. Davidson Street, an $80,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, $60,000 in fundraising, an incredible staff who is committed to exemplary patient care and boo rah – Spay Neuter Charlotte is born.
The clinic officially opened for business on August 3 and we have done 400 surgeries thus far. Sounds impressive, but we are a long way away from our goal of 25 surgeries a day with a goal of more than 5,000 a year.
I hope this blog will be a fun and informative read about how our clinic works, the incredible pet owners the SNC staff meets everyday, what it takes to get a fledgling business off the ground, and how we intend to speak the truth and solve the problem.