Spay and Neuter Action Program helps people and their pets

Volunteer Suzanne Bramlett
Volunteer Suzanne Bramlett gets patients ready.
If you have been in Las Cruces any length of time, you know that this is a town with a lot of people who love animals. You also know that many households throughout the county have limited means, and can’t always take care of their pets in the way they’d like.

One organization that helps people in Doña Ana County do right by their furry companions is the Spay and Neuter Action Program (SNAP). SNAP’s mission is to help people who meet low-income guidelines spay and neuter their dogs and cats.

In 2002, SNAP began to provide low-cost vouchers for spay/neuter services. That first year, SNAP helped sterilize 68 animals. In 2016, that number had grown to 1,700 sterilized in a year. From 2002 – 2016, we helped people spay and neuter a total of 16,358 pet cats and dogs, preventing, literally, tens of thousands of unwanted kittens and puppies.

Getting help from SNAP is, well, a snap! Clients come to the office at 2405 W. Picacho (hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday). We require photo identification, proof (a tax return is best) of an income level that meets our low-income guidelines, and a cash co-pay of $30 per cat and $40 per dog. In return, our client receives a voucher for a spay/neuter with a participating veterinarian of their choice or for a SNAP-sponsored mobile clinic. (For SNAP clients who live far out in the county and for whom an extra trip to town is truly a hardship, SNAP has a mail-in application.)

SNAP partners with about eight local veterinary clinics and the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (ASCMV) for spay and neuter service. Clients make their own appointments, and they present the voucher at the veterinary clinic on the day of surgery. SNAP is billed by the clinic for the remainder of the cost of the spay/neuter procedure (anything else is the responsibility of the client). The SNAP client never sees a bill.

Thanks to the assistance SNAP receives from the veterinary community, we serve those who would otherwise not be able to enlist the services of a veterinarian for this procedure. To do this work, SNAP relies on the financial generosity of individual donors, Doña Ana County, and grants from funders, including PetSmart Charities and the PetCo Foundation.

More than anything, however, our volunteers are the lifeblood of SNAP. They are the ones helping people help their pets, and they make it look easy. Whether they are working with a senior on a fixed income, an NMSU student, or a family from far out in the county, our volunteers do their best to get them the information and the assistance they need.

In fact, SNAP hopes to add to its roster of fabulous volunteers. Do you like talking to people and helping them help their animals? Are you good with organizing basic paperwork? Are you available for a weekly shift from 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m.? Perhaps you could be one of our office volunteers! (We would love to add a Spanish speaker or two to our roster.)

Do you like organizing, decorating, and requesting donations for special events? We would love your help with our annual Critter Christmas event coming up in December.

Could you be our next volunteer? We hope you would like to be part of our work helping people spay and neuter their pets and prevent unwanted litters! If so, please call Elaine at 524-9265 or email snapnm@zianet.com to set up a meeting time.

Elaine Stachera Simon is the new director for Spay Neuter Action Program. Neuter is cuter, and spay is the way.