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Grant helps RVHS with spays, neuters

Grant helps RVHS with spays, neuters Grant helps RVHS with spays, neuters

River Valley Humane Society was awarded a $15,000 spay-neuter grant by the Harrison County Community Foundation. RVHS founders, volunteers and supporters appreciate this incredible first-time ever award.

Proceeds are being used to increase spays and neuters throughout Harrison County.

“Never before possible, we are able to secure and pay for quantities of cats numbering 10, 20, 30 and for multiple dogs, per property,” said Tanya Gilley Tuell, president of RVHS. “Folks at farms, feed stores, private residences and those feeding community cats now have spayed and neutered, vaccinated and healthy cats and dogs in their care. RVHS volunteers have been busy this year trapping and transporting cats and also helping with transportation for dogs.”

In addition to the grant resources, Harrison County government provides Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers/coupons in the amounts of $20 for cats and $35 for dogs. These amounts are deducted from the total cost of the spay or neuter. Residents of Harrison County are allowed two vouchers per year.

“Utilizing both programs, we work with each person who contacts us to provide spay-neuter resources necessary to meet their needs, whether it’s one cat, one dog or lots of both,” Tuell said. “RVHS certificate assistance and SNAP vouchers are available to all Harrison County residents. All veterinarians and spay-neuter clinics in our region accept the SNAP vouchers and RVHS certificates including other Indiana counties, Bloomington, Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky., Meade County, Ky., and a bit further south have accepted RVHS certificates and SNAP vouchers.

“Since 2005, when the program started, there has never been a list of participating veterinarians; all vets and clinics are considered participants unless we are notified otherwise,” she said.

Animal Adoption Network, Harrison County Animal Control, HEART Humane Society and RVHS each have the option to schedule spays and neuters and then, utilizing the grant, RVHS pays the assistance due.

Tuell said there are no restrictions regarding which vets or clinics can be used by Harrison County residents.

“The pet owner or caretaker chooses the vet and pays the invoice balance after the voucher and/or certificate deductions are applied to the SN invoice total,” she said. “We help people find SN services based on cost and location. While most people use our low-cost options, some will choose a vet based on being closer to home or where they can get an appointment more quickly.

“We are fortunate to have affordable services available in our region, although when writing the grant last year I did not anticipate the spay-neuter services reduction in 2021 due to COVID,” Tuell continued. “After researching and securing additional SN services options, we were able to overcome the reduction in those services and we have been providing the requests for SN assistance.”

With the HCCF grant, River Valley Humane Society has had quantities of cats spayed and neutered at Alley Cat Advocates Clinic in Louisville throughout the year. Also Tuell said, instead of relying solely on RVHS volunteers to transport their cats, more people are transporting their own, including quantities of 10 cats at a time which increases the number of cats overall that can be spayed or neutered.

“It can be a long drive, two round trips to ACA and having a vehicle that meets requirements can be challenging but well worth the effort,” Tuell said. “It’s caught on. More people are familiar with Alley Cats; more are willing to transport, and it’s worked out great.”

Harrison County has a 21-year history of providing government-funded spay-neuter assistance, which started as free spays and neuters then went to the voucher program after the animal control facility opened in 2005.

“I administered both of those programs for the county as a volunteer for 13 years,” Tuell said. “The HCCF grant has enhanced our ability to reach more people and animals in need.”

Tuell said the results of increased spays and neuters likely include:

Improved public health and safety due to rabies vaccinations at the time of spay-neuter.

Reduced population of strays.

Reduced quantity of animals entering the animal control facility.

Reduced euthanasia rates.

Reduced wildlife and livestock predation by dogs and cats running at large.

“Increased spay-neuter helps address dog/cat overpopulation, which is the driving issue behind all animal shelter and rescue issues,” Tuell said. “RVHS remains committed to implementing measures aimed at preventing more homeless litters and ending dog/cat overpopulation.”

River Valley Humane Society is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) grassroots group. In addition to spay-neuter assistance, it responds to complaints from residents and handles a range of animal-related issues.

“Our volunteers are dedicated to spay-neuter rescue in rural, often remote areas,” Tuell said. :As we have the past 20 years, RVHS continues to provide traps, trapping, transportation, information, advice and spay-neuter financial assistance services to residents in Harrison County.”

Those interested in spay-neuter services information can call the River Valley Humane Society at 812-969-2615 or 502-396-0660.