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Pet Project “Speutered” Over 970 Animals in 2023

By LYDIA BERGLAR
News Editor

Photo courtesy of Dade County Pet Project – This litter of puppies was rescued by the Dade County Pet Project. While the organization’s primary focus is spaying/neutering to prevent unwanted litters, the team also works with rescues and fosters.

At the beginning of 2023, Monda Wooten set a goal for the Dade County Pet Project to “speuter” (spay/neuter) 1,000 pets by the end of the year. While the final number was slightly below that at around 970, Wooten and the team are still proud of the project’s achievement.

When the Pet Project began transporting animals to low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the fall of 2022, the team averaged 80-100 pets per month, which is how Wooten landed on the goal of 1,000 for the year.

While it is impossible to know exactly how many unwanted litters were prevented by the 970+ spayed/neutered pets, Wooten reported that cats can reproduce every three months, and dogs can typically have two litters each year.

The Pet Project also reported, “This year, we rescued or rehomed 75-100 dogs and puppies and 40-50 cats and kittens. We assisted several other pet owners by improving living situations of their pets.”

Wooten explained that while the organization’s main goal is speutering, it also received pet food donations. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts troops ran pet food drives, and the Pet Project team distributed that food to people who had trouble affording pet food.

The project also provided veterinarian care for some dogs. Wooten explained that while she typically does not spend large amounts of money on vet care for stray animals who do not have a home to return to, the team raised awareness through Instagram about certain animal’s stories. Sometimes, supporters’ hearts were captivated by these animals and they made donations for these specific situations.

Photo courtesy of Dade County Pet Project – The Dade County Pet Project unloads kittens to be spayed/neutered.

Instead of setting a numeric goal for 2024, Wooten has several other goals, such as hosting fundraisers. Donations to the Pet Project go toward the spay/neuter operation (specifically to help seniors living on fixed incomes) unless otherwise noted.

Wooten also wants to see the animal shelter completed this year. She said, “It is moving forward, but I just had no idea how much there is to it. It’s really been an undertaking. [Mayor] Alex [Case] gets the importance of the shelter. He’s really right there beside me.”

Wooten also hopes to make connections with more rescues in northern states so that the team has somewhere to send unwanted litters. The Pet Project already sends animals to several shelters in other states.

Specifically referring to non-rural areas, Wooten said, “It’s like the animals hit the jackpot when they go up north. Northerners just have a totally different point of view when it comes to their pets. They tend to be very responsible pet owners, and there are lots of ordinances and laws requiring pets to be spayed and neutered so that they don’t have the overpopulation problem we have down here in the south.”

Wooten thanked all who made donations, volunteered with the project, and fostered animals this past year. She specifically noted Frankie Roberts’ work fostering animals and driving the Pet Project transport and Jennifer Lynch who helps with the Pet Project in a variety of ways. The team is eager to work with more volunteers.

Photo courtesy of Sandy White – When Wooten was alerted that Buster needed a new home, she thought of Sandy White who had been thinking about getting a big dog. Buster now has a new home with White.

Wooten also especially thanked everyone who had their animal fixed. She said, “I am thrilled beyond belief. I thought we were going to have to spend a lot of time convincing people, but the community really responded. Offering them a low-cost option was the ticket to success.” (Wooten said it can cost $150-$250 to fix a cat, but the Pet Project only charges $60 per cat, and it can cost over $200 to fix a dog, but the Pet Project only charges $80 per dog.)

Wooten also thanked Sand Mountain Mutts n Pups Rescue, Trooper’s Treasures animal shelter, and Jimmy and Becky Stewart with DART (Dade Animal Rescue Team). She said, “I try to work with anybody and everybody around who wants to. You’ll have the best results if you work together.”

Wooten and the Pet Project team continue to encourage pet owners to get all animals fixed. Wooten also encourages people to adopt animals instead of buying them. She said the many volunteers in Dade find a variety of types of dogs who need homes, so if you are looking for a specific type of dog, let the Pet Project know so that they can be on the lookout for a good fit.

For example, Sandy White (president and CEO of the Alliance for Dade) had been considering adopting a dog. She wanted a big dog, and when someone reached out to Wooten about a purebred labradoodle that needed a new home, Wooten reached out to White.

White said, “It was nice to be able to work with somebody locally. They do a wonderful service in the community. He was spayed and chipped before I got him. It was an easy, nice process.”

To connect with the Pet Project, visit dadecountypetproject.com or call Wooten at 423-596-9977.

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