‘Maddie’s Big Fix’

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 9, 2001

Veternarians, Humane groups save

animal lives with new program


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Features Editor

Tens of thousands of Alabama residents are now able to spay or neuter their pets at a cost of only $5 for cats and $10 for dogs.

The new spay-neuter program called Maddie’s Big Fix for Alabama is being offered through the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association (ALVMA) with the cooperation of the Alabama Humane Federation and the Alabama Animal Control Association. The program is underwritten by a grant from Maddie’s Fund, a California pet rescue foundation, said Brundidge veterinarian Jack Jones.

"The statewide spay/neuter program is designed to serve Alabama’s low-income residents," Jones said. "Pet owners can qualify by showing proof of income eligibility with a Medicaid card. There is a limit of six animals per household."

Troy veterinarian Doug Hawkins, who is also participating in the program, said Maddie’s Big Fix could be beneficial to many Pike County residents.

"According to the figures that have been made available to me," 24 percent of Pike County residents are on Medicaid," Hawkins said. "That means a large number of people in our county qualify for this program. They can have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered at a very low cost and we encourage them to do so."

Jones said the average charge for spaying a cat is $55 and neutering is about $35. For a dog the average charge is about $80 to spay and $55 to neuter.

ALVMA doctors participating in the program are reducing their fees to help low income pet owners spay/neuter their dogs and cats.

"Maddie’s Fund is contributing an average of $45 per cat surgery and $70 per dog surgery," Jones said. "All of Alabama’s animal control agencies, humane societies, spca’s and no-kill organizations are participating in the program by providing vital statistics on cat and dog impounds, adoptions and euthanasias to measure the program’s effectiveness in reducing shelter populations."

Lynne Fridley, president of the Alabama Humane Federation, said her agency is behind anything that will keep down the pet population in Alabama.

"We see too many unwanted animals left to roam the streets to fend for themselves," Fridley said. "Most are killed by automobiles or starve to death. And, when the unwanted animals come to shelters, it is very difficult to find homes for all of them and many of them have to be euthanized."

With qualified pet owners participating in Maddie’s Big Fix for Alabama, the hope is that the state can begin to address the issue of spiraling pet populations in a serious way.

Veterinarians want to see citizens take better care of their animals and be responsible,  Jones said.

"People with low-incomes often don’t have the money to spay or neuter their pets," he said. "With Maddie’s Big Fix, these people will now have that opportunity at an affordable price. It should make a difference if people who qualify will participate."

Maddie’s Fund has awarded $610,000 to the ALVMA for the first year of the two-year project. As goals are achieved, the foundation will make about $2.5 million dollars available to spay/neuter 40,000 dogs and cats.


· According to Spay USA, each day 10,000 humans are born in the United States and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all of the animals.

· Cats and dogs multiply fast. They go into heat at 5 months of age, sometimes earlier, and they can have litters twice a year.

· According to statistics from Spay USA, an unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with 2,8 surviving kittens per litter can total:

1 year: 12

2 years: 67

3 years 376

4 years 2,107

5 years 11, 801

· According to statistics from Spay USA, an unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to:

1 year:


2 years: 128

3 years: 512

4 years: 2,048

5 years: 12,288