New Program Targets Animal Overpopulation

Lacy is sleeping off the anesthesia from her spay surgery in the humane society's new recovery room. She and a dozen other animals have all been sterilized, even though they all haven't been adopted yet. The shelter's new Hold and Fix program guarantees every animal that leaves the shelter will be spayed or neutered.

"We very much wanted this program because of the extreme overpopulation. We want every animal that we send out of here to be fixed," says executive director Pat Bushman.

To do that, the staff had to get a little creative to make more room to hold up to 40 animals after surgery.

"We turned our porch into an office and took over the office as a holding area and also the side room that I'm standing in right now used to be unused, we knocked a hole through the wall so this could be open for observation. We changed everything and rearranged everything so it would work."

The hold and fix program solves a long time problem of people coming to the shelter, adopting a pet and then not bringing the animal back to be spayed or neutered, even though the adoption fee covers the cost of the surgery.

"We actually went to requiring a deposit, $40 deposit to get them to come back. Even after that we still had a 20% non-compliance."

Now people who adopt pets won't have to make another trip to the shelter to get them fixed. And Bushman says, more importantly, the Hold and Fix program means they won't have to euthanize so many healthy dogs and cats that are just looking for a home.

GM&R Construction Company of Waveland donated materials to help create more space for the surgery recovery area. The humane society takes in about 16,000 animals a year. Roughly 12,000 are put to sleep.