OUR 3 MAIN PROJECTS
SNAP has been a community resource for almost three decades. It all started with the implementation of the very first referral guide of affordable spay/neuter providers in San Diego County to knock down euthanasia rates in City and County-run shelters, which eventually led to becoming an actual affordable spay/neuter provider for greater impact. Tangible results have been realized over the years through strong programming that works together to advance our mission of saving lives by reducing pet overpopulation.
1/ THE NEUTER SCOOTER
Affordable spay/neuter clinics are held “on location” throughout San Diego County aboard the Neuter Scooter traveling surgical bus, a 37-foot work horse with onboard prepping area, recovery kennels, and hospital grade operating suite. Up to 20 clinics are held each month with an average of 25 combined cats and dogs fixed per clinic. They day-long clinics (7am to 2pm), are run by a fully trained and licensed medical team consisting of a high-volume spay/neuter Veterinarian, Registered Veterinary Technician, Veterinary Assistant, and Kennel Assistant with support of a Clinic Manager, appointment setters, and volunteers. In addition to a discounted procedure underwritten by donors, each animal scheduled for surgery receives a free pre-anesthesia health exam to screen for potential surgical risks plus free basic pet care services including a nail trim, flea treatment, Rabies vaccine, deworming (if needed), 72-hour pain management injection, soft e-collar, one-year license for qualifying pets, and a sturdy cardboard carrier for cats without one. At time of pick up, clients receive an “Observation Form” from the pre-exam noting any conditions requiring follow up, a list of reasonably-priced veterinarians, take home post-op packet plus verbal overview, and access to the surgical hotline for any post-surgical questions or concerns.
The Neuter Scooter Sub-Programs:
Targeting low-income neighborhoods plagued by chronic pet overpopulation because of the financially challenged pet owners who otherwise have a deep affection for their companion animals.
A County-wide effort to fix companion animals for a better chance of survival while living on the streets with their owners. Volunteers pitch in by transporting pets to and from clinics.
A partnership with the San Diego Chapter of Dogs on Deployment to provide “chits” for free spaying or neutering of companion animals belonging to military personnel grades E1-E6 serving locally or overseas.
2/ HUMANE EDUCATION
For over 10 years, SNAP has been visiting Title 1 schools and other youth-centered locations in underserved communities often experiencing pet overpopulation, to teach about responsible pet care and inspire compassion for animals through age appropriate workshops, all provided free of charge.
Up to eight interactive sessions take place each month across San Diego County to provide students a role in the learning process with three core lessons that can that be customized to fit the needs of individual classrooms. The first, Proper Pet Care for grades K-5, is a hands-on project with “Good for Me” and “Bad for Me” boxes filled with objects that are either beneficial or detrimental to pets that students can compare to their own daily needs. The second, Dog Bite Prevention for grades 2-8, teaches best practices on personal safety when approaching a dog or being approached by one that is unattended. A well-behaved canine is generally part of the curriculum for a meet-and-greet which for some students is the first exposure to a companion animal. The third, Puppy Mills for grades 5-12, teaches students about the puppy mill industry, federal regulations that govern the trade, and local ordinances. Students are also provided with a list of activities to raise money to help SNAP help more animals and in the process, develop leadership and math skills as well as a sense of community. In addition to onsite visits, entire classrooms are invited to visit the Neuter Scooter at clinic sites throughout the County. All courses come with a set of handouts to reinforce compassion and serve as reference materials.
SNAP reaches an estimated 3,000 students per year.
SNAPs Neuter Scooter is not only our warrior in the ongoing battle against pet overpopulation but also an outreach agent when participating in public events such as the annual Earth Fair in the spring and Pride Parade & Festival during the summer, seaside bazaars and street fairs, large scale spay/neuter operations, community service destinations, and smaller civic activities in communities served. If the bus is in service or the venue is too small, we participate with an informational booth.
The sheer size of the bus and brightly wrapped exterior is a natural draw for foot traffic that gives plenty of opportunities to interface with the community to ask about any pets in the home, answer general medical questions, distribute educational materials on basic pet care, collect contact information for follow up, and promote Friends of SNAP, an independent and self-funded entity that rescues and rehomes small dogs. Our whereabouts are regularly posted on the website, Facebook, twitter, and craigslist, through monthly electronic newsletters and blog, and the old-fashioned methods of distributing flyers and word-of-mouth advertising.