By LYDIA BERGLAR
The Dade County Pet Project has set a goal to spay/neuter 1,000 dogs and cats in 2023. Founder of the initiative, Monda Wooten, reported that as of Feb. 17, they have spayed/neutered 182 animals in 2023. Since the project was started in early 2022, they have fixed a total of 234 animals.
The project’s objective is to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens by helping pet owners get their animals fixed. Wooten said, “Spaying and neutering is the most effective way to combat the overpopulation of animals that are homeless or dying in shelters. We are a strictly volunteer organization, and we fund the cost of the van and transport.”
The Pet Project transports animals to low-cost clinics each Wednesday. Wooten reported that it costs $70 to have a dog fixed and $50 to have a cat fixed through the Pet Project.
February is recognized as Spay/Neuter Awareness month by animal shelters, vets, and animal control groups across the nation, and Wooten explained, “It’s about to be kitten and puppy season so we’re trying to beat the heat [this February].”
The project does not rescue animals or help with adoptions; their focus is solely on spaying/neutering animals. The Tri-State Humane Society focuses, a completely separate organization, works on animal rescues and adoptions.
Wooten, a firm supporter of the anticipated Dade County Animal Shelter, has been working in her role on the City of Trenton Commission to move the animal shelter forward. She said, “I am very excited about the shelter with intentions of it and the Dade County Pet Project working hand-in-hand with one another.”
County Executive Ted Rumley also offered his perspective on the shelter. “When I first became a commissioner, I thought we didn’t need an animal shelter, but especially in the last four years, it’s amazing how many phone calls I get about stray dogs and cats and calls from people who can’t take care of their pets. The shelter’s been on our SPLOST, and the people voted for it, but there are also some people who think it’s a waste of tax money. There’s a lot to be answered as far as staffing, how many volunteers, etc. It’s new ground for us.”
Wooten said, “The people in Dade County and surrounding areas are stepping up to the plate and acknowledging that this is a community problem that deserves a community response. We just encourage you to get your animals fixed because an unaltered animal today is an unwanted litter tomorrow.”
The Pet Project noted that low cost spay/neuter options near Dade County include ChattaNeuter in Chattanooga, Tenn., Dixie Day Spay in Cleveland, Tenn., and My Kids Have Paws in Dalton, Ga.
Wooten concluded, “There are many ways you can help, so please join our efforts.” Call or text Wooten at 423-596-9977 if you are interested in helping with efforts to spay and neuter or for more information about the initiative.