YORK -- About a month ago, Doug Long found two young black labs abandoned on the side of the road, and because he was afraid they'd be killed by a passing car, he took them home.
But Long is on Social Security and a fixed income so he couldn't afford to have the dogs spayed and neutered and thought he would have to get rid of them.
A phone call to Richardson Animal Rescue prevented that from happening.
Thanks to a grant, Richardson Animal Rescue is now providing low-cost spay and neuter operations for pets from low-income families, and Long was able to get the dogs the medical attention they needed.
"I'm glad they were able to help me," Long said. "If it hadn't been for that, I'd have had to take the dogs to the pound and they probably would have been put to sleep."
Preventing animals from having to be euthanized is precisely what Janet Richardson, director of the Richardson Rescue, is trying to do with the spay/neuter program.
"We want to be proactive rather than reactive," Richardson said. "Proactive, meaning stop them before they're born and have to go to animal control."
In just seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, Richardson said. That's why it's crucial to make sure pets are spayed and neutered.
Richardson Rescue gets anywhere between 10 and 15 calls a day from people with a litter of kittens they're trying to get rid of.
"I can't take them, and none of the other groups can take them either," she said.
Many times those pets are euthanized.
"That's why I work so hard for the spay/neuter clinic," Richardson said.
The cost of the surgery performed by a local vet will vary depending on the person's income level. To qualify for the reduced rate, pet owners must be unemployed, on Social Security, disability or public assistance, be a college student or simply facing a hardship.
"We'll help just about anybody," Richardson said.
For more information about the program, call 684-6865.
For an application, visit richardsonrescue.org.