In July 2013, Coachella Animal Network hosted a veterinary clinic in southern California’s Coachella Valley. Over 500 pet owners came the first day, hoping for one of just 37 sterilization spots. Recognizing the need for affordable local veterinary services, the Coachella Animal Network, Loving All Animals, Animal Action League, Ark Charities, and local communities collaborated to organize subsidized sterilization, vaccination, and microchipping clinics. Civic partners donate space for the clinics—facilities have included a park, a community center, and a luxury resort and casino. With names like “Community ‘pet-ulation’ control party,” events emphasize a collaborative and community spirit. Pet owners' response, in turn, has been tremendous! As of September 2014 a total of 1,006 animals have been sterilized (including 510 zinc neutered and 39 castrated male dogs)--and average of 105 animals per clinic.
Dr. Amber Valinski, owner of mobile veterinary clinic Wellness on Wheelz, has zinc neutered over 1,000 animals in South Texas—an area, she writes, where “we fight against extreme animal overpopulation, many holding facilities and pounds hire people to euthanize animals eight hours a day five days a week.” People Assisting Animal Control (P.A.A.C.), also in South Texas, shares the goal of humanely reducing animal homelessness by preventing births in the first place and offers low-cost or free sterilization, among other services. Wellness on Wheelz and P.A.A.C. have partnered on multiple occasions to offer Zeuterin, in the process attracting support from entities as diverse as a local mattress company and local baseball team, the local United Way, and Petco Foundation. This summer, P.A.A.C. conducted targeted outreach and education prior to a July 20th “Zeuterathon” hosted by P.A.A.C. and Wellness on Wheelz. The event left 108 dogs zinc neutered, and P.A.A.C. reports that the “best part of all of this was to see so many large breed dogs, including bully breeds, come through for zeuters.” This partnership and the mobility of Wellness on Wheelz offers important flexibility for sterilizing male dogs. Dr. Valinski writes that she has performed zinc neutering in "areas that would be impossible to perform a surgical castration safely in. These areas include shelter parking lots, parks, low income neighborhood schools, [and] store parking lots. Zeuterin has allowed us to safely bring sterilization to the community, instead of having to have the community come to us."
In April 2014, Animal Balance held its inaugural Z*M*A*S*H campaign in Oahu. Since the organization is based on the U.S. mainland, it partnered with the Oahu SPCA to hold this high-volume sterilization campaign and Zeuterin training, and local veterinary and animal welfare professionals advised on socially and culturally appropriate promotional strategies. In the weeks leading up to the campaign, in addition to conventional outreach channels (including media engagement, social media posts, and flyers), the partners reached out to all animal welfare groups and veterinarians in the state, to Oahu’s Windward Animal Technician School, and to key veterinarians at Hawaii's licensing and state boards (some of whom became certified to use Zeuterin during the campaign!). The combination of in- and out-of-state resources and expertise were integral to a hugely successful campaign.
Three different communities, three different sterilization models. In all cases, collaboration among veterinarians, nonprofit organizations, communities, and local businesses increased the number of animals sterilized. Do you have examples of effective collaboration? Let us know!