SNIP is a non-profit that evolved through many years of volunteer time with multiple agencies that provide services to low income people and their pets. After volunteering countless hours at county agencies, homeless programs, pet-feeding programs, vaccine and licensing clinics and veterinary clinics, it became apparent that many low income community members were not able to access affordable healthcare or spay/neuter services for their pets.
OUR FIRST SUCCESSFUL EVENT
In 2009 a SNIP founder offered to assemble a team of volunteers, partner agencies and donations for a pet event to coincide with a “Compassion Connect” event, a faith-based outreach program for the needy. Compassion Connect thought by providing services for pets additional guests may be attracted to their event and agreed to partner with us. The popularity of the pet clinic was beyond all expectations, 162 animals were served that day. Multnomah County support made a spay/neuter program available. As a result of that day, 55 dogs and 32 cats were spayed and neutered.
SUCCESS THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
Partnership with existing agencies has became the model for SNIP. Confronting a growing need for spay/neuter services, we have partnered with multiple organizations that serve pets of homeless and low income owners, including: bringing spay/neuter services to those pets in need. SNIP currently receives referrals from the Oregon Humane Society, Multnomah County Animal Services, JOIN, Pongo Fund, Clackamas County Gleaners, Animal Control Officers and more.
Through grants, cat spay/neuters for low income households are readily available. The same is not true for dogs so SNIP concentrates its efforts there. Our orchestration of free spay/neuter dog surgeries and has been greatly aided by the generosity of Multnomah County Animal Services and through surgery events with Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital. Multnomah County gives SNIP surgery slots every month for Multnomah County residents and during the slower winter months, Dove Lewis donates operating room space staffed by SNIP volunteers.
LONG WAITING LIST FACES LOW INCOME PET OWNERS
SNIP continues to receive requests from low income families for services for dogs. A 150+ wait list has become the norm. Eliminating that waiting list is SNIP’s most urgent mission. New housing regulations have created an urgent need for SNIP’s spay/neuter services. Many subsidized low-income housing units now require tenant's pets to be spayed or neutered. It is not uncommon for someone to choose to remain homeless while waiting for their pet’s surgery so they can move into their new housing with their pet.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Since starting this program in 2009, 1078 dogs have been spayed or neutered and 459 cats have been referred. SNIP plans to open a veterinary clinic, specializing in spaying & neutering pets. Our goal is to eliminate barriers to housing, promote animal health, reduce pet over-population and lower shelter population.