Submitted by Eastern Madera County EMC SPCA President Sharon Fitzgerald
EASTERN MADERA COUNTY — Friends of Madera Animal Shelter (FMAS) announced it has recently received a grant from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation for $1.5 million. The money is allocated to benefit the residents of Madera County by providing FREE spay and neuter surgeries for their dogs and cats.
Friends of Madera Animal Shelter is a non-profit group that works in conjunction with Madera County Animal Services.
For the past twenty years, the Eastern Madera County SPCA, through donated funds and grants, has operated a spay/neuter assistance program.
This program has paid approximately half the cost of spay and neuter surgeries for thousands of dogs and cats in Eastern Madera County.
The EMC SPCA also operates a feral cat ‘trap-neuter-return’ program that allows Eastern Madera County residents to trap feral (wild) cats on their property, have them spayed or neutered at no cost, and return them to their property to live out their lives.
The FMAS and EMC SPCA, both non-profit volunteer groups, were chosen to administer the program because of their hard work and long standing commitment to education, adoptions, and humanely reducing the tremendous pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering.
Red and Nancy Arnold lived their entire married lives in Madera County and established the foundation to benefit the residents of the county. The Arnolds adopted their beloved dog “Buddy” from Madera County Animal Shelter. He was a cherished member of their family. The Arnold family recognized the importance of a family pet and the responsibility that goes with it. They also recognized the tragedy related to too many unwanted pets in the community.
Kirsten Gross, Director of Madera County Animal Services estimates this one time gift would provide approximately 20,000 spay and neuter vouchers over the next several years. The free voucher program has been set up using HOPE Animal Foundation in Fresno. There will be periodic transportation for dogs and cats to HOPE from locations such as North Fork, Coarsegold, and Oakhurst.
According to EMC SPCA president, Sharon Fitzgerald, there was concern that even though surgeries would be free, many foothill residents would not participate in the program if their pets needed to go to Fresno. The EMC SPCA is working with local veterinarians to make the plan available to all residents of eastern Madera County.
The EMC SPCA will pay the veterinarians the difference between the reimbursement from the fund and what the local veterinarians charge. Fitzgerald said the local veterinarians operate differently than a low-cost clinic and have much higher overhead. The veterinarians have generously agreed to forego some of their standard charges and accept the amount the FMAS and EMC SPCA will pay making the surgeries FREE to mountain area residents.
Fitzgerald says the program began in mid-September.
To receive a voucher, please call the EMC SPCA voicemail line at 559-683-1266. Leave the requested information and allow several days to receive the voucher in the mail.
You will also receive a cover letter with instructions on how the program works. You will be required to show proof of Madera County residency with a photo and/or a PG&E bill with your identification.
The local vets may have limited appointments, so locals also have the option to use HOPE Animal Foundation if they wish.
Visit the EMC SPCA on Facebook.