HSUS-led coalition launches #SpayTogether fund to spay/neuter 50,000 companion animals in wake of coronavirus crisis

By on June 1, 2020 with 8 Comments

The coronavirus pandemic has affected animal shelters in unprecedented ways. But the humane movement has risen to the challenge, and shelters have pivoted swiftly and efficiently to ensure animals are neither forgotten nor left out, by expanding foster programs and creating innovative adoption opportunities.

Unfortunately, communities in every state have been forced to temporarily suspend non-emergency veterinary services such as spay/neuter surgeries to divert resources needed to fight the spread of the virus, and to conserve personal protection equipment, like masks and gloves, for use by hospital, emergency and law enforcement personnel. This has resulted in a backlog of unaltered shelter and foster pets, and it has also affected trap-neuter-return programs focusing on cats and initiatives to treat street dogs and other animals living in public spaces.

That’s why, today, we are leading a coalition of more than 25 national non-profit organizations in the launch of #SpayTogether, a stimulus fund to help animal shelters and spay/neuter veterinary clinics perform 50,000 lifesaving spay/neuter surgeries in the United States on a fast track over three months. These are high quality/high volume surgeries—procedures performed speedily, using the best expertise and resources in the field. Together, we will put our collective might and know-how to clear the backlog of unaltered animals so that shelters can recover from the particular negative effects of the pandemic on their operations, renew their energies, and invest themselves fully in their lifesaving work.

Across the nation, according to our estimates, spay/neuter surgeries declined by 41 percent between March 1 and April 14. We expect that by June 7 this will result in a backlog of 265,000 unaltered animals in 500 clinics, most of these being public spay/neuter clinics funded by local jurisdictions. We are also entering kitten season when the numbers of unowned cats living outdoors increase dramatically.

Spaying and neutering these animals is imperative because not doing so could prompt an increase in the numbers of pets entering shelters. This would create practical and financial burdens on shelters and raise the prospect of increasing euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals.

Approximately 1.5 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Animal protection groups like ours have worked for years to lower this number, with great success. But it is crucial we do not let it go back up as our nation deals with a human health crisis.


That’s why we are so excited to announce this historic initiative. We have worked around the clock to raise funds to support it, and over the coming months, we will provide surgery subsidy support grants, on-ground assistance, training in high quality, high volume spay/neuter surgeries, and discounted veterinary supplies and services to shelters and veterinary clinics. Participating veterinary clinics will also be able to offer discounted operations to pet parents in underserved communities. We have also created and will promote guidelines to help clinics safely perform spay/neuter surgeries during the coronavirus crisis.

While we expect to reach every state, the coalition has identified eight of them in which there are greater needs due to veterinary shortages and/or large amounts of unaltered animals, including Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, California, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Oklahoma. Expert veterinary surgical support teams from the ASPCA, Animal Balance, ViDAS and Emancipet will help provide on-site support in these states.

We’ve done this kind of thing before, in our longstanding global work targeting street dog populations at scale, in our multi-million dollar post-Hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast initiatives, and in our Spayathon for Puerto Rico™ campaign, in which we have helped spay or neuter more than 52,000 animals. We know that working together, and mobilizing the financial, logistical and human resources needed to hit the mark, will bring success to this latest initiative as well.

We are grateful to Maddie’s Fund, Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, BISSELL Pet Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Petco Foundation, Banfield Foundation, Greatergood.org, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA, Inc and other partners in the #SpayTogether coalition who bring to the table unparalleled expertise in the area of animal protection and in reducing the problems of pet homelessness and pet overpopulation. These are unprecedented times, but working together now, we can help communities—and the animals who are part of them—survive, stabilize and thrive, setting the stage for their success long after the nation has successfully overcome the coronavirus threat.

Companion Animals

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    tenemos que evitar que más animales y sigan reproduciendo así también vamos a evitar más violencia hacia ellos y los vamos a cuidar evitaremos que los alemanes siguen sufriendo en la calle

  2. Troy P says:

    This is like the best idea ever. Unaltered dogs are what causes all these stray populations, which crowds up shelters. That’s how my grandmothers dog ended up at her house. My cousin’s friend’s dog had puppies, and my cousin took home one. They’ve had her for a year now. With other dogs like that, they end up in shelters with no one to love them. This helps reduce homeless dog populations, which I like the sound of. Wish other dogs were as loved as mine. He gets to eat pieces of popcorn for crying out loud! This could indirectly put fewer dogs in shelters. Great idea Kitty.

  3. Amy Guyer says:

    How do I become involved in this? I would like to help the Omaha Nebraska community fundraise to support this spay/neuter effort.

  4. Charlotte Parks says:

    We do not have a web page yet. Just started late 2019. Can we still apply for grant without web page. We have a facebook page: Kali’s MIssion is the page name

  5. Linda collins says:

    The diff u make makes all the diff. Thank u; bless u. Please do community outreach when it is safe again to be around people. People don’t know what u do. They don’t know what u need. Young people need to be exposed to ur world so they can become involved; show them the need. Teach them how to help. Show them how to choose careers to support ur work. They can organize and participate in protests in cities where puppy mills exist. They can become lawyers, politicians.

  6. Lazeria Davis says:

    I am greatly appreciate this program. It is a God sent to me as well as any more that have rescued/adopted a dog/cat. Everything you’ve said is true as an aftermath from the virus. We are now realizing what long term results occur from the changes too.

    I rescued my sweet Te-Te, but he is so hyper and hard to settle down. We pray that getting him neutered will make him calmer! He is a smart, good, lovable, fun loving, and our dog. We just need him to be calmer.

    Please add me to your list, or email me once this program becomes available in Memphis, TN 38116

  7. Deborah Pemberton says:

    Is there any timeline on the date of determinations on this grant?

  8. Kimberly Simmons says:

    Are there any spay clinics set up in the Melbourne Florida area yet?

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