A local group in Huntsville has been fighting the this overpopulation problem since 1994 when the Spay/Neuter Action Project was born. Like any other organization, they needed money in order to make their program work. The Annual Bouffant Benefit started as a fundraiser for Huntsvilles Spay/Neuter Action Project (SNAP) in 1999 when the owners of the NeoMode Hair Salon offered the use of their salon for a silent auction, hence the name "The Bouffant Benefit" for the yearly event. On a Sunday night, the salon was transformed into a party place filled with an eclectic mix of original art and other elegant auction items and proved to be a great success. As the event grew to be even bigger and better, there was a need to move to a large and it was moved to the Historic Huntsville Depot Roundhouse downtown.
All proceeds from the annual event benefit the Spay/Neuter Action Project (SNAP), an organization dedicated solely to reducing the euthanasia of dogs and cats as a way of solving the pet overpopulation problem in our community. SNAP Incorporated in 1994 as a 501(c)3 organization and began with the help on one veterinarian and currently has five participating vets. Services offered by SNAP include: a low fee certificate available to an pet owner regardless of income; a qualifying program for families with incomes of less than $25,000 and emergency financial assistance for spay/neuter surgery awarded on a case-by-case basis.
To address the overpopulation problem on a broader scale, SNAP began in 1996 coordinating the now annual February "Big Fix" spay/neuter campaign. Tragically, in Madison County alone, over 6,000 dogs and cats must be destroyed each year. Many are healthy, adoptable pets but there just arent enough homes for them.
Every year, seven puppies and kittens are born for each human, so there will never be enough homes for them all. Thats why slowing the reproduction rate of pets is so important. Altered pets enjoy better health and behavior, guardians save on vet bills, and the community saves on the high cost of caring for stray animals and destroying homeless ones.
In collaboration with the Madison County Veterinary Medical Association and the Greater Huntsville Humane Society, a discounted rate for spay/neuter surgery is offered the entire month of February. In 2004, 1738 dogs and cats were "fixed" preventing the births of potentially thousands of unwanted animals. The Doris Day Animal League has called this campaign one of the biggest and best in the country.
The goal of the Big Fix campaign is to educate pet owners about the severe problem of pet overpopulation and make them aware of all the benefits to themselves and their pets from spaying and neutering. There are many health benefits for the pets. To participate in the campaign, pet owners simply call their veterinarian and make an appointment during February. Current or updated vaccinations are required. There are 44 clinics participating in Madison, Morgan, Marshall, and Limestone counties and one in Ardmore, Tennessee and Ardmore, Alabama.
Even if you dont have a pet, you can be part of the solution by sponsoring the surgery of a shelter pet, a pet on SNAPs waiting list, or a friend or relatives pet.
Neuter and spay its a kinder way. For more information on helping with overpopulation of pets, call SNAP at 539-8163.