By Fred Woods
The Lee County Commission approved a county-wide spay-neuter program for dogs and cats this week. The primary purpose of the program is to help low-income people with the expense of spaying and neutering their pets to assist in addressing the issue of overpopulation of dogs and cats in Lee County.
According to Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham, who has been involved, along with local veterinarian Dr. Buddy Bruce, in the planning and development of this program from the very beginning, “The real significance of this program is all four units of government in Lee County plus the Lee County Humane Society working together for the good of the community.”
The program will be administered by Doctors Buddy Bruce (Animal Health Center), Jere Colley and Gary Hunt (Opelika Animal Hospital) under the overall supervision of Lee County Director of Environmental Services Chris Bozeman. County veterinarians willing to participate in the voucher program will register with the program administrators.
Lee County residents with family incomes less than $25,000 annually can obtain surgery vouchers from any of the three above-listed vets and take their pet to any participating veterinarian who will perform the surgery and then submit the voucher to Director of Environmental Services for payment at a predetermined rate. That rate, not yet announced, will be based on the schedule of charges by the Alabama Animal Alliance Spay/Neuter Clinic for Lee County pets. That rate is expected to be around $60 for male dogs and higher for females with comparable rates for male and female cats.
The program will begin operating immediately on a pilot basis prior to full operation next fiscal year with the aim of assuring minimal administrative burden consistent with satisfactory program accountability.
The Spay and Neuter program will be funded initially by annual $5,000 appropriations from the four units of government and, hopefully, some private contributions.
This program is attracting considerable interest from other Alabama counties. In response to this interest, Commissioner Ham will make a brief presentation on the program at the ACCA annual meeting in Orange Beach in August. The Lee County program may well become a model for the rest of the state.
The commission also heard from county administrator Roger Rendleman that Kim Oas, Human Resources Director for Lee County for the past several years, was leaving in order to spend more time with her family. Mr. Rendleman and members of the commission expressed their gratitude for Mrs. Oas’ service.
In other actions the commission
authorized $2,000 from the contingency fund to pay for a land survey in connection with the Beulah Senior Center,
at Mr. Rendleman’s request, approved adjustments to job descriptions for Human Resources Director and Governmental Relations/ Safety Coordinator.