With the help of a government grant, the city of Wichita will provide free spaying and neutering for pets owned by low-income residents.
The project is funded through the American Recovery and Investment Act, and the city is working with Spay-Neuter Kansas and the Kansas Humane Society.
Janet Johnson of Neighborhood Services said that after the grant of $55,000 was received, the city had to decide what this demographic of people needed.
"Of course we could run off a list that was a mile long," Johnson said. "But one of the thoughts that we had was unwanted pets."
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These pets cost taxpayers over $200 per animal to pick up, board and euthanize, said Don Henry, environmental services manager.
Many pets are not properly cared for because of money issues.
"I think people want to be responsible pet owners, but when you have to choose between getting your dog neutered and buying groceries, you're going to get the groceries," Johnson said.
For a pet to receive the free spaying or neutering, owners must first attend a one-hour educational class. Sessions will take place hourly from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two dates, this Saturday and Nov. 7.
Johnson said after residents complete the session, each application will be reviewed on-site.
"Once the citizen gets approved and receives a voucher that day, they can call either one of the organizations we're working with (Spay-Neuter Kansas and Kansas Humane Society) and set up an appointment," Johnson said.
Pets should not be brought to the educational sessions.
Those who qualify for the service will also receive a free rabies vaccination for their pet, micro-chipping and a free pet license for one year.
Free leashes, bags of pet food and training videos will also be available at the educational sessions, which are open to all who qualify.