This past weekend, a new spay/neuter clinic opened in Kissimmee, FL, thanks to a grant from the ASPCA, under the guidance of the Humane Alliance. SNiP-it! held their official open house ceremony, and staffers are looking forward to providing Central Florida residents with expanded access to low-cost spay and neuter services to prevent accidental litters.
But none of this happened overnight. The idea took root many years ago, born, in part, from tragedy and tears.
Reducing the pet overpopulation problem in Central Florida, one animal at a time, was the goal of Gloria Wade and Joan Frazier, founders of the Animal Welfare Alliance of Central Florida, Inc. (AWACF), when it came to fruition in 2001. AWACF’s mission was to provide the residents and rescue groups of Central Florida with humane solutions to the pet overpopulation problem through education and by offering low cost spay/neuter services to owned pets and community cats.
This ShelterMe.TV writer first met Ms. Wade in 2009, at Orlando’s International Homeless Animals Remembrance Day: an annual candlelight ceremony held to honor the memory of the animals who perished at local shelters. Ms. Wade brought a stirring memorial she had created, what she called a ‘Chain of Souls’; a seemingly endless paper chain of links with the name or number of each deceased animal written onto a separate link.
The chain you see is from one year alone.
The length of that chain was overwhelming and represented only a few of the shelters in the Central Florida area. This was the tragedy. So many unwanted pregnancies and births, leading to so much death. Sorrow which could, and should, have been prevented.
Ms. Wade and Ms. Frazier were determined to do something to stem the tide of unwanted animals in Central Florida. In 2002, the strength of AWACF’s purpose convinced the commissioners of Seminole County, in Central Florida, to eliminate the practice of adopting out intact animals from the County Animal Shelter, a major step in cutting down the pet overpopulation problem.
For many years, the two women, and the members of their organization, were also very concerned about animals in neighboring Orange County. Ten years ago, they believed that the low cost, easily accessible spay/neuter services provided to that community by Orange County Animal Services were inadequate to cope with the burgeoning litter problem. They saw the low number of surgeries performed on the OCAS mobile clinic as being just ‘spitting in the ocean’. Eventually, that mobile unit became inoperable. Veterinarians were unavailable to service the unit. Outreach efforts to spay/neuter pets in outlying areas, for people who could not access OCAS, fell by the wayside.
In 2011, more than 7,600 s/n surgeries were performed at the OCAS facility. But animal advocates knew that the problem wasn’t going away.
Five years earlier, in 2006, seeking viable solutions by the County, Ms. Frazier had stated,
“it will not cure overnight but then we didn’t get where we’re at overnight. That’s why we need to begin now to change the future.”
And, finally, the wheel of change began to turn. Through much hard work and community support, which included a petition, circulated by this ShelterMe.TV writer, in 2014 the mobile unit was once again up and running, refurbished, restaffed and more fully serving the Central Florida community. Ms. Wade and Ms. Frazier worked their magic with AWACF until 2013.
In 2014, the organization was relaunched as SNiP-it!, with the goal being to serve the community at a higher level. The Board of Directors, all members of the rescue community of Central Florida, are ecstatic about the new facility. They remain focused on the vision of assisting the residents of Central Florida with low cost, easy access spay/neuter options. They would like to thank the family of Dawn Brancheau, the Sea World trainer who lost her life during an exhibition at that park. Her Foundation donated towards the SNiP-it! Clinic.
If you are in the area and would like to bring in your pet to be fixed, here’s the link to the SNiP-it! service request form. They do ask that you please reserve a spot in advance. If you’d like more information about the facility, please click here. If you’d like to help them provide high quality, low cost care, by donating, please click here.
This facility is located at 3096 Michigan Avenue, Kissimmee, FL, 34744, phone 407-476-4748. If you can’t reach SNiP-it!, but you live in the Central Florida area and would like to help be part of the solution by s/n your pet, please check out Spay N Save, located in Longwood, FL.
If you do not live in Central Florida, here’s a link to facilities in other FL counties.
Help promote animal welfare in your city, and Think Pawsitive!