Low Cost Pet Spay, Neuter Program Begins in Harlingen

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HARLINGEN – Birth control for your dogs and cats? Starting Tuesday, local pet owners can get their furry friends "fixed” at a cheaper price in Harlingen.

The program is more than just a bargain deal. CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned it could be a lifesaver for dozens of animals killed every day in Rio Grande Valley shelters.

We’ve learned some of those animals are Hurricane Harvey rescues and their time is almost up.

Gunner survived a deadly hurricane, but may not survive the shelter running out of space.

"The reality is we are at capacity almost every day," says Harlingen Humane Society Director Kim Warunek. "If 20 come in the door, 20 have to go out the door - whether it’s through adoption, transport, or put to sleep because there’s just not enough room.”

It’s not just dogs. Warunek tells us right now they are housing about 40 cats. Of those, she says only ten will likely make it to adoption. 

"It’s brutal," she said. "We want people to understand that that’s never taken lightly by anybody in this building. Never."

Adding to the complications, the Humane Society in Harlingen is experiencing a change in command. Its now-former president is leaving due in part to a large number of animals who don’t leave alive.

In a statement to CHANNEL 5 NEWS, Pat Turman-White claims when she began, nearly 85 percent of the animals brought to the shelter were killed. She says during her near 12-year tenure, that number dropped to roughly 70 percent.

Turman-White is now hoping to start a new program called Kitties of the Valley, with the goal of saving more lives.

Meanwhile, Warunek says, "What we have to do is find the most efficient cost-effective way."

Employees at the Harlingen center are hoping the new low-cost spay and neuter program secured during Turnman-White's last few months, will lessen the demand for space.

Ultimately, the hope is it will give hurricane survivors like Gunner, as well as all the other shelter animals another shot at life.

The reduced spay/neuter program is available starting today. It’s only $20 to fix a cat, $30 for your dog.

People living in and around the Harlingen area and all of Willacy County can apply. Call 956-425-7297 for information.

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