Time is up early for the Maui Humane Society’s Spay Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP), which provides coupons for reduced-rate sterilization for pets. The program is administered at no cost to taxpayers by the Maui Humane Society (MHS) with the funds it receives from the county. This year it met an early demise because funds were depleted as of March 5, earlier than usual.
The coupons were distributed when the veterinarian, client or other animal welfare group calls to let MHS know that surgeries are scheduled. MHS then faxes the coupon to the veterinary facility, where it’s filled out and signed, confirming surgeries are completed, and then faxed back at the end of the month. MHS then reimburses the facility, based on the discounts earned for the animal. Discounts vary from $15 to $50 depending on the animal.
MHS says that 1,010 animals were sterilized during this fiscal year. New initiatives by SPCA, like the mass spay neuter in January, utilized 164 coupons; 9th Life also utilized 61 coupons throughout the year, which may be contributing to the higher demand for coupons.
Jocelyn Bouchard, CEO of MHS, does not believe that this will have an increase in animal population in Maui as their in-house Spay/Neuter Assistance and Referral Program (SNARP) is still ongoing and has funding.
“Options are still be available to people who need financial assistance,” says Bouchard. “We expect to see an increase in our in-house program. However, if private vets don’t refer people and/or if people wait for the coupons to be available again, we could see an increase in unwanted/accidental litters which will mean that the population will increase. This program is privately funded–restricted donations from individual donors, grants written for the program, pet banks in the community and any costs the client can afford for the procedure all go towards this program. Our budget for that is based on funds available. Thankfully, we have not run out of funds for this program yet and spend approximately $72,000 per year on this program. The exact amount is hard to pinpoint, since salaries, supplies, etc. can overlap with other programs operated by the vet department. But this is a conservative figure.”
The discount per SNIP coupon is $15 for a cat neuter, $25 for a cat spay, $25 for a dog neuter and $50 for a dog spay. The annual budget for 2011-2012 fiscal year was $35,000. It can cost up to $500 for a dog spay and the Maui Humane Society urges anyone who may have any challenges with paying to call them at 808-877-3616 for more info or to book an appointment for their SNARP program.
“We utilize that program for people who cannot afford to do the surgery elsewhere and work with clients so that money need not be the reason they do not have their pet sterilized,” says Bouchard.
The SNIP program has run out of funds before, but usually just a few weeks before the end of the June 30 fiscal year. This is the earliest they’ve seen funds run dry. MHS usually distributes the coupons until the money runs out, but they’re considering having a monthly cap to ensure funds run through the year for the next fiscal year.