Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019

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Scherer and her husband Richard created the Spay and Neuter Imperative Project (SNIP) in 2016, and to date more than 8,000 dogs and cats have been sterilized via two mobile veteri- nary clinics, called "SNIP buses." The Scherers divide their time between Carmel and the Coachella Valley city of La Quinta. It was there that Melanie saw a news report about a spay and neuter clinic that had been held nearby. "I remember it like it was yester- day," Scherer says. "On the local news program, I saw a line of peo- ple holding their pets. A Coachella woman named Kim Hardee was putting on a clinic offer- ing spay and neuter services for $25. She had 40 available slots. 500 people showed up." That was an epiphany for Scherer. She had been raising money to help local shelters keep their doors open. "Walking through shelter after shelter, it was nonstop dogs and cats all the time," she recalls. "They would be 15 deep in each cage with more arriving constantly. I real- ized that no matter how much I raised, the need was still huge." Perhaps, she thought, it was time for a fresh approach. Americans love their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, about 44 percent of households in the United States include a dog and 35 percent a cat. That's almost 86 million cats and 78 million dogs. But not all are lucky enough to have a human fam- ily to take care of their needs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 6.5 million dogs and cats enter US shelters every year and that 1.5 million of those are euthanized. Locally, a 2018 Monterey County Civil Grand Jury found that nearly 70 percent of cats (a total of 1,791) that were taken in by the Monterey County and Salinas shelters were put down. The number of dogs was not as high but still tragic: 626. "I am not anti-kill," Scherer says. "I believe there are problem ani- mals who need to be put to rest as humanely as possible, but when you're killing innocent animals just because they're born, we've got problems. When this becomes the norm, it's wrong. We're a civilized society, not a third-world country." And it's not just a humanitarian issue, it's eco- nomic. "It costs more to house, feed and kill them that it does to operate a low-cost spay 176 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 Demand routinely outstrips availability at the 4-6 monthly clinics held in Monterey and San Benito Counties. Seeing that the need is so great, SNIP hopes to increase the frequency of clinics as funding becomes available. SNIP has now 'snipped' over 800 dogs and cats in Monterey County since its inception in fall 2018.

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