Winnie, a 1-year-old female chocolate Labrador retriever, became the 5,000th companion animal to be spayed or neutered through Peninsula Friends of Animals.
Winnie's family, Tony and Billie Dunscomb of Port Angeles, delivered their dog on Monday, April 19, to Angeles Clinic for Animals, 160 Del Guzzi Drive, where veterinarian Dennis Wilcox performed the surgery.
"I was very happy there was an organization out there to help me with this," Billie Dunscomb said. "I called around to find help. It would have been too expensive to cover the full cost because of Winnie's size and I couldn't have had it done otherwise."
Dunscomb, a medical assistant, is not able to work due to an injury, leaving the family's income drastically reduced. PFOA helps community members who qualify for the spay/neuter program when their income level drops below a certain point.
From the beginning
Wilcox has been altering cats and dogs for PFOA since the organization was founded in 2000. Hadlock Veterinary Clinic also provides many spay/neuter procedures, and Sequim Animal Hospital performs the surgeries for PFOA with monthly spay/neuter clinics.
Pacific Northwest Veterinary Hospital, Blue Mountain Animal Clinic, Greywolf Veterinary Hospital and Country Care Vet have been involved with the spay/neuter program as well.
Pets adopted through PFOA always are sterilized but the vast majority of the 5,000 surgeries have been for the low-income spay/neuter program.
Sharon Palmer, PFOA's spay/neuter coordinator, says the program is one of the most important things the organization does for the community.
"It's a top priority for us to eliminate the birth of many thousands of unwanted puppies and kittens, even in this poor economy," she said.
Pet owners pay a more affordable co-payment, Palmer adds, while PFOA picks up the rest of the tab. Funds covering PFOA's portion of the costs come from public donations, fundraisers and grants while participating veterinarians offer discounted prices toward the program.
Peninsula Friends of Animals also provides adoption services, emergency medical funds, emergency pet food and feral cat trap/neuter/return assistance. PFOA can be reached via Web site www.safehavenpfoa.org or by calling 452-0414. For spay/neuter assistance, call Palmer at 683-4697.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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