Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- According to officials at the Animal Mission, a free spay and neuter program will be expanded from Lexington and Richland Counties to Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw and Orangeburg Counties.
Residents of those counties can find coupons at their nearby county animal shelter or control agency, and they can redeem them at local veterinarians for a free spay or neuter procedure on cats or dogs.
In Richland County, more than 90,000 coupons were given away in March. Additional coupons may be picked up at the Columbia Animal Shelter, found at 127 Humane Lane. In Lexington County, officers are distributing the coupons.
Officials with the The Animal Mission, a nonprofit support group for the Columbia Animal Shelter, say the new services are funded by a $100,000 donation from businessman Austin Meyer.
"This is a huge gift and we are so grateful to Austin Meyer," said Jim "Soni" Sonefeld, Animal Mission board president. "Austin understands that there aren't enough homes for all the stray animals in our communities. Spaying and neutering is the only way to reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia. We're profoundly grateful to him for his generosity."
According to a news release, the Animal Mission has been offering the free service in Richland County since 2006, and made its first $20,000 grant to Lexington County. The group has paid $512,850 for 11,281 spay or neuter operations in Richland County in the last four years.
With the $100,000 for the Richland coupon campaign, the $20,000 grant to Lexington and the $100,000 gift from Meyer, The Animal Mission will put $220,000 toward spaying and neutering in 2010, according to a news release. The group raises money through the annual fundraiser "Party Animals," the sale of bricks for the City of Columbia's Paw Path and private donations.
According to the release, the Animal Mission was founded to provide refuge for lost, unwanted, or mistreated pets and animals, to promote pet adoptions at the City of Columbia Animal Shelter, to enhance conditions and outcomes for shelter-bound animals, to provide and promote spay and neuter efforts and to educate people on pet issues and humane treatment of animals.
For more information, call 803.776.PETS or visit www.animalmission.org. Below is a list of coupon locations by county.
Ron Gibson 803-874-2914
Calhoun County Animal Shelter
140 Purple Martin Dr.
St. Matthews, SC 29135
Mike Hollis 803-635-9944
Janice Emerson 803-815-0805
Fairfield County Adoption Center
1768 US 321 Business North
Winnsboro, SC 29180
Sharon Jones 803-425-6016
Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter
460 Fair St.
Camden, SC 29020
Ben Boensch 803-533-6178
Orangeburg County Animal Control
1596 Ellis Ave.
Orangeburg, SC 29115