After just one year in operation, SNIP WV has already completed over 5,000 spay and neuter surgeries. Why is this something to celebrate?
It may not be as noticeable here in Cheat Lake, but there is an overabundance of community cats and shelter animals in the Morgantown area and throughout the state. Many of these homeless animals are prevalent within our neighborhoods and towns, making them prone to disease or danger while living outdoors. Our animal shelters and rescue groups simply can’t keep up with the number of animals that need care.
The community – or feral – cat population produces about 80% of the kitten population born each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. It would be impossible to trap and remove them all, and there aren’t enough homes willing to adopt them. A solution is the trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) strategy, implemented by many rescue organizations and people who love and care for animals.
Alyssa Shade is one such individual. She has been involved in animal rescue for over 10 years. She, along with fellow rescuer Carrie Curtis, would drive 156 miles to Charleston with a car full of cat carriers to get felines spayed or neutered. There weren’t enough clinics or veterinarians in our area to keep up with the demand. The two women began working together to open the first high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter incentive program in our area – SNIP WV.
Here in Cheat Lake, Cindy O’Malley has always been an animal lover who has her own little pack of dogs and cats at home. Once her daughter went off to college, she used her spare time to become a fierce proponent of animal rescue. Cindy doesn’t shy away from traipsing through the brush to gather community cats and bring them to SNIP WV to be “fixed.” She’s been so active in this cause that people seek her out to help trap and rescue cats that are so prevalent in their neighborhoods.
“People say the problem with feral and stray cats that are dumped in rural areas is the lack of funding and vet appointments to cover the cost of fixing and caring for them,” Cindy explained. “Many are left outside when they’re pregnant.”
Now, there are several organizations in addition to SNIP WV such as Mountaineers for Mutts, Homeward Bound, Morgantown Feral & Stray Cats and Animal Friends of NCWV – that provide assistance.
Through grants and donations, SNIP WV primarily offers spay and neuter surgeries. It is not a full-service veterinary clinic, but rabies vaccines are provided to prevent disease among the feral population. In anticipation of kitten season in the spring, a Free Feral Day at the clinic was a success. Recently a microchip clinic was offered for $20 per pet.
Since SNIP WV opened its doors, the veterinarians, volunteers, and small but mighty staff have worked toward their mission of reducing the large number of feral and homeless cats and shelter animals. They’ve helped by providing low-cost and no-cost spay and neuter surgeries that are accessible to the public, local rescues, voucher programs, and county shelters. Fees include $57 for a cat neuter appointment, while dogs are spayed and neutered for $87 to $144, depending on the size of the dog. Free vaccines, by appointment, are announced on the SNIP WV social media pages.
If you notice a stray animal outside, take a photo and post it on social media, such as Morgantown Lost & Found Pets. Contact a rescue organization – or message Cindy O’Malley on Facebook. She’s happy to advise you on how to help!
Now that SNIP WV is located just minutes from Cheat Lake in Sabraton, there’s no reason not to help stray animals! This nonprofit clinic relies on grants and donations to continue its services. Please consider a donation of any amount and spread the word about SNIP WV. Let’s work together to make a difference for animals and neighborhoods in our area!
Donations can be made through the SNIP WV Facebook page or website, snipwv.org. They can also be dropped off or mailed to the clinic at 1470 Earl L Core Rd, Morgantown, WV, 26505.
Thanks to Cindy O'Malley for her assistance with this article.