The SPCA in Aiken let the dogs out again on Feb. 1. Not the hordes of real dogs which are sheltered in the SPCA Albrecht Center, but the vinyl dogs which are part of the third annual, monthlong spay and neuter initiative and fundraising project.
You may recall seeing the playful pups around town in 2013 and briefly last year before Winter Storm Pax destroyed our hopes of raising more money for low-cost sterilization surgeries. The pups and kittens littered lawns across Aiken County. Maybe you even played host to an unexpected litter. Hopefully the litter you played host to was only one of the SPCA’s cartoon sets. Frankly, the real litters are what inspired this project.
Many of us in Aiken County have fallen victim to a lawn litter, a pack of puppies or kittens that take up residence under the house or are even left on the front porch. So many people in the CSRA cannot afford to get their pets sterilized and don’t know what to do when litter after litter of unwanted pets is born. Then, unsuspecting neighbors are left to pick up the pieces, fostering and finding homes for pets they unexpectedly received, doing what they can to keep these helpless creatures from the ever-present threat of euthanasia due to overpopulation.
There just aren’t enough homes for all of the companion animals being born. They reproduce at alarming rates and with only one human born for every seven pets, we just can’t keep them all. The solution is prevention. That’s why the SPCA began Project: Spay Aiken in 2013.
The project is a takeoff on the old “Flock of Flamingos” gag where folks make a donation to have a flamboyance of plastic flamingos removed from their yard. The twist is that the SPCA’s lawn litters have real-life implications. You just never know when you might be struck with an actual litter of puppies or kittens in your yard. Then what?
Just as there are choices in real life, there are options with the fundraiser. You may choose to just have animal control come and pick the strays up. You might want to insure they are adopted and help find them homes. In the best case scenario, you will want to have them spayed or neutered and then adopted so that the cycle is broken.
If you are stuck with one of the SPCA’s lawn litters this month, you will have those three previously mentioned options as well. For $15, we will just pick up the plastic pups or kittens and the offensive sign that reads either “Yard of the Mutts” or “Your Yard is a Cat-astrophe.” For $20, you may send them to a friend’s house for adoption. Finally, for $25, you may have the litter neutered and adopted out, insuring they cannot return to your home.
We’d like to thank those good sports that have participated in the past. We anticipated there might be some unhappy recipients of our “yard art” over the last couple of years, but the only problem we faced was people wanting to keep them longer!
Thank you to the folks who are participating in the fundraiser this year as well, including those that have already reserved or hosted lawn litters, volunteers moving the litters around and collaborative organizations such as the City of Aiken Environmental Control. You are all wonderful supporters of the SPCA and the animals we serve!
Let us know if you’d like to receive a litter of pups or kittens this year or if you have someone in mind you’d like to involve in the project. All proceeds supplement low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for pets of families that need it most.
In 2013, the project brought in more than $7,000, including awards from the Humane Society of the United States and sales from our wrap-up SPAY-ghetti Dinner. Last year, the weather just didn’t cooperate for the lawn project, but SPAY-ghetti Dinner was a huge success again. This year, we are already off to a super start thanks to our Play to Spay. One hundred fifty-six tickets to Paladin Production’s performance of Hilda’s Yard were sold, and many generous donations were made by the guests who attended.
You can sign up for the project by emailing development@LetLoveLive.org or calling 803-648-6863. Please visit our website at www.LetLoveLive.org for SPAY-ghetti Dinner tickets and more information about affordable sterilization surgeries and vaccinations.
Chrissey Miller, CAWA
SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare