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Thread Starter 
This was posted at the Best Friends Forum...but I thought it would be useful to those trying to help with spaying/neutering:

Question from Jeanie:

I was doing some data crunching today and wanted to get your thoughts on it. I was looking at our spay/neuter info and discovered that although we have issued about 600 certificates to date, only 201 of those have been redeemed. This is disappointing, I was hoping to have a higher number than that.

Our voucher fees are $15 per male cat and $20 per female cat, which the recipients pay the clinic at the time of the surgery. We are billed for the difference. Any ideas?

Response from Celeste Crimi:

First the bad news: $15-20 per cat is a lot (too much) for the folks we're really needing to reach (the very poorest). Especially when we consider that people in the lowest income bracket tend to have more pets than the average.

Now the good news: If you target and present your event/program as reaching only those most in need, you'll be paying more per surgery, but for animals most likely to be reproducing.

Rick DuCharme of First Coast No More Homeless Pets in Florida tells us, “80% of the pet overpopulation problem is caused by 3% of pet owners, these for the most part are low income pet owners. Programs that target these pet owners are the most effective and the only way we will ever get control of the pet overpopulation crisis.â€

For more about preventing euthanasia due to overpopulation with targeted spay/neuter assistance, Peter Marsh has wisdom to share (, and will get you started).

For the NeuterFest, the focus was on providing most or all of the funding to alter pets, 2 pounds or greater, who would otherwise remain intact due to lack of funding.

Vets were paid a rock-bottom price of about $20 for male cats, $30 for female cats, and a flat $50 fee for any dog or rabbit.

Part of the funds came from the low-income public bringing their animal friends. Pet guardians screened on the honor system were presented with a sliding scale:

$20 each to have one pet altered

$10 ea to have 2-4 pets altered

$5 ea to have 5-9 pets altered

free to have 10 or more pets altered

The rest of the funding was raised prior to the event, via the usual channels (please see the sections on Fundraising at and for ideas and resources).

In general, we've found that the truly poor can do $10 per kitty, with no extra charges--as long as they have only 2-3 cats at the very most. There are some who can't even do that. Folks on government assistance here in Oregon only receive $500-600 per month from the State. Ouch!

If they have 3 or more animals needing surgery, they often need it to be $5 each. Especially for litters of kittens we're asking them to get fixed before giving away. I would almost say in order to get widespread compliance it needs to be free for kittens 8-12 weeks old. That's one way to create a sense of urgency with folks who have taken in a kitten, and to prevent accidental litters!

Speaking of accidental litters, that’s one terrific reason that Spay Day ( is in February, when the breeding season hasn’t really started yet. Springtime spay/neuter, which we can all start planning for now, largely skirts questions about who should pay for little kittens and puppies to be fixed, and when. That’s how the Tom & Mom Cat Special, which takes place in February/March, can get away with requiring $10 per cat—the animal families tend to be smaller that time of year.

I know I’m proposing more coming out of your pockets, a lot more. But it will be for the surgeries that truly wouldn't happen otherwise.