Low-cost spay/neuter program available to some Whitfield County pet owners

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Charles Oliver, The Daily Citizen, Dalton, Ga.
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Mar. 27—Whitfield County Animal Shelter Director Diane Franklin says it's not only the right thing to do but it's the law in Whitfield County that dogs and cats have to be spayed or neutered unless they are being bred.

But she said she also understands that some people can't afford the $80 or more it costs to have an animal fixed. So she asked for, and the county Board of Commissioners approved, $15,000 to help subsidize the spaying or neutering of pets owned by some county residents.

To apply, a person must provide proof of county residence and show that the person's household income is below $37,000. The program will cover one pet per household, and the owner must pay $20 cash. Those who are interested can contact Whitney Weaver at (706) 278-2018 or wweaver@whitfieldcountyga.com. Franklin said if Weaver isn't available, one of the other animal shelter attendants can take down information for her.

"There's no deadline," Franklin said. "We've got all year to use this money, and if we don't have enough money, there's always next year. I plan to ask for more money next year. The commissioners have just been great."

She said she isn't sure how many surgeries the money will fund.

"That will depend on the weight of each animal and how many are dogs and how many are cats and things like that," she said.

Franklin said they are vetting the callers to try to help the most needy first.

"We plan to help those on government assistance or living in government-subsidized housing first," she said.

She said they have already received some 400 calls since the animal shelter posted news of the program on social media just a few days ago.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen said he's "thrilled" to hear of the response to the program.

"I would think that if there's a big need for this program, one that exceeds the funds we have already provided, that commissioners might provide more money," he said.