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Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers have each received grants from PetSmart Charitiesto offer free spay and neuter surgeries.  The cost of spaying and neutering one’s pet has often factored into a pet owner’s decision about whether or not to go through with the procedure.

In order to get people to take advantage of the free procedures, Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers is realizing it takes extra effort.  The organizations have to reach out to the public, change the culture and spread the word.  In doing this, the groups have begun work with churches and schools in hopes of encouraging pet owners to spay and neuter.

Some fear the surgery will be harmful to their pets; others think it may change their pet’s personality. Spaying and neutering pets is essential to limiting the number of pets euthanized each year at the shelter.

President of Charleston Animal Society’s board Charles Karesh has said the shelter’s made progress in recent years. Three years ago, it euthanized 65 percent of the 12,000 animals brought in. Last year, it euthanized about 45 percent of them.

“We can’t adopt our way out of this problem,” Karesh said. “We refuse to euthanize our way out of this problem.”

Pet Helpers’ no-kill shelter received a grant of $50,000, which is enough to spay or neuter about 1,025 pets.  Karesh said the Charleston Animal Society will receive $200,000 over the next two years, and will use it to spay and neuter about 5,000 pets.

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