Clinics benefit pets of tribal members in San Diego County.
SNAP announced today that the spay and neuter clinics funded by PetSmart Charities under the TRIBAL-SNAP program have been completed. The final event took place on Saturday, June 26, 2021, on the reservation of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians. A total of 291 pets received a lifesaving spay or neuter and 134 tribal members were assisted over the life of the grant (more than half of the tribal members had more than one pet).
SNAP became involved with the Native American community in 2017, after receiving calls from multiple tribes concerned about the large number of roaming strays on tribal grounds. The problem existed because there are no pet care resources on reservations, county animal control is restricted from entering these locations, and unkind people dump unwanted animals onto their vast lands. Some tribal members cared for the strays as best as they could, but with little or no support from casino revenue, it was not financially possible to keep up with the ever-increasing stray population. A partnership was established with the Native America Humane Society and the Indian Health Council to implement TRIBAL-SNAP, with SNAP operating as the lead partner.
TRIBAL-SNAP runs for two-consecutive days per quarter, at rotating reservations, to maximize impact. Up to 60 combined dogs and cats are sterilized each time, generally 55 percent dogs and 45 percent cats. The program serves the Inaja-Cosmit, La Jolla, Los Coyotes, Mesa Grande, Pala, Pauma, Rincon, San Pasqual, and Santa Ysabel Bands of Indians. Tribal members have the flexibility of making appointments at any of the TRIBAL-SNAP clinic sites. Visits since the beginning have been filled with gratitude and locally baked goods for bringing much needed pet care services where none existed before. To quote a tribal member during the early days of the program, “we are so glad you’re here, no one ever does anything about the animals.”
PetSmart Charities, a long-time supporter of SNAP, funded eight clinics in the amount of $32,000 at the beginning of 2020. This covers the full cost of each clinic so TRIBAL-SNAP can be free of charge to pets of tribal members and any strays trapped on each reservation. The final clinics ran over into 2021 after SNAP experienced a 75-day shutdown at the onset of the pandemic, when the American Veterinary Medical Association deemed spay and neuter services as nonessential business. The remaining clinics filled up quickly and inquiries on the next set of clinics continue. “We are so thankful to PetSmart Charities for the opportunity to help almost 300 pets lead a healthier and longer life while simultaneously reducing the numbers contributing to pet overpopulation on reservations in rural San Diego County,” said Dorell Sackett, SNAP executive director. TRIBAL-SNAP, like their other programs, is only possible through ongoing funding.
SNAP will continue to bring the Neuter Scooter to San Diego County reservations where the need for spay and neuter service continues.
SNAP became a registered non-profit in 1996. It is recognized as the first organization in the San Diego region to implement programs to reduce the number of companion animals killed annually in the shelter system. SNAP remains the only affordable spay and neuter provider since 2003, to bring the veterinary office directly to communities with high shelter intakes. We have fixed over 65,000 cats and dogs to date. Please visit www.snap-sandiego.org to learn more or follow SNAP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with their latest activities.