What’s My Agenda?: The Spayship Equation

I started volunteering at my local animal shelter in 1987.  In 2001, I began gathering and analyzing data pertaining to companion animals.  The Spayship began as an idea for a mobile spay/neuter clinic, was somewhat embodied in the Oregon Neutermobile 2003-4, evolved into a spay/neuter voucher program in Lane County, OR 2008-2013, and is now embarking on it’s 3rd 5 year mission to promote

spayship equation narrow v2.0

For those not familiar with this notation, these means simply that a combination of the six items listed below will reduce animal shelter intake and euthanasia.

  • SE[1] Spay/neuter Clinic(s)
  • SE[2] Neuter Before Adoption
  • SE[3] Juvenile Spay/Neuter
  • SE[4] Trap/Neuter/Return
  • SE[5] Pregnant/Heat Spay/Neuter
  • SE[6] Low-income Support

SE[1] Establish low-cost high-volume Spay/Neuter clinic(s) to increase the area’s spay/neuter capacity by 5 surgeries per 1000 human population. Voucher programs that do not increase the area’s capacity are limited in effect. Real world analysis of Oregon clinics show that, while some financial support is required to provide this capacity, it is very little compared to sheltering costs: $46,000 per year or $16 per surgery.

SE[2] Neuter Before Adoption by shelters and rescue groups. No other method is as effective in assuring adoptions will not result in adding to the pet overpopulation problem.

SE[3] Juvenile Spay/Neuter as early as 8 weeks. In addition to being necessary for SE[2],  pets acquired outside of shelters and rescues also need to be fixed before that first litter.

SE[4] Trap/Neuter/Return. Most areas have many free-roaming cats. Abandoned pets as well as breeding continually add to this population. Kittens from this population are continually being adopted into households.

SE[5] Spay/Neuter as soon as possible, even when the animal is pregnant or in heat.

SE[6] Low-income pet caregivers are more likely to have unaltered pets and have the most obstacles to overcome to get them altered. Financial assistance, primarily is needed, but assistance with transportation, language and other barriers will be needed to achieve maximum effect.

This equation will most quickly and dramatically effect cats. In most shelters across the US, the Live Release Rate for cats is much lower than that for dogs and the percentage of cats among animals euthanized is large and growing larger. The situation for dogs is more complicated, with many more factors involved an owner relinquishment and adoption choice, but this equation can help dogs, too.

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The primary purpose of this blog to to share the data and analysis supporting this equation.

The charts above are mine from Oregon counties that benefited from spay/neuter clinics.  Explanations and data supporting them will appear in this blog and much of it is already available at http://www.spayship.com

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About Capt'n Lisa

In transition
This entry was posted in Animal Shelters, Oregon, Spay/Neuter, Statistics, The Spayship Equation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What’s My Agenda?: The Spayship Equation

  1. great equation; question is the Oregon Neutermobile no more?

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  2. Capt'n Lisa says:

    It is no more, *sigh*. We were unable to keep it staffed with vets and vet techs.

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    • Ashley says:

      This is certainly a fantastic idea and it surely would continue to make a dramatic difference, not only in Oregon but nationwide. Was the staffing problems due to lack of funds or just no interest?

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      • Capt'n Lisa says:

        The Neutermobile had a pretty unusual protocol: to go to underserved rural OR area and stay there usually open 3 days/week until the 70% threshold was reached. And I said “How long is that?” Which is how I ended up here. Because no one had a clue. In practice we generally ended up staying until the local host was on the verge of a nervous breakdown: a couple months. There aren’t many vets willing to do that kind of travel, and we wore those out. But two of our local host went on to open fixed clinics and those inspired others, so ON lives on in its children and grandchildren.

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