RANCHO CORDOVA, CA - A pet food and supply chain is funding the spay/neuter of pit bulls and pit bull mixes for residents of Rancho Cordova.
The Sacramento SPCA and the city of Rancho Cordova announced PetSmart Charities has made a two-year grant which will allow 600 pit bulls and pit bull mixes to undergo the spay/neuter surgeries. The dog owners must live in Rancho Cordova zip codes 95670 or 95827.
Nearly a quarter of the dogs the Sacramento SPCA takes in as strays or surrenders are either pit bulls or pit bull mixes, many of them from those neighborhoods in Rancho Cordova. The goal of the new program is to control the population growth in a humane way.
"You see a lot of stray dogs, a lot of homeless people who have dogs, and eventually they can't take care of them, so they end up just running around," said Veronica Harris, who lives in one of the two areas.
"You don't want a bunch of unwanted animals running around. People get pets, and they don't take care of them," added Matthew Sutton, who also lives in the area.
"Our goal as an animal shelter is to prevent getting so many pit bulls and other dogs into our shelter that we can't adopt out because of behavior issues," Sacramento SPCA Chief of Shelter Medicine Dr. Laurie Siperstein-Cook said.
According to Siperstein-Cook, one of the challenges to controlling the pit bull population is clearing up a misconception that spaying and neutering will affect the dog's ability to be a guard dog.
"The guarding behavior, of their home, has to do with their bond to the home and the family. They're still going to guard just as much," Siperstein-Cook said.
"They're awesome dogs, but it's how you train them, it's how you take care of them. You just don't tie them up in the back and throw them a bone every now and then and show them off when people come by. It's a lot more to it than that," Harris said.
Lesley Kirrene, spokeswoman for the Sacramento SPCA, says the surgeries will be performed by appointment only at the SPCA's spay/neuter clinic at 3839 Bradshaw Road. The number to call is (916) 504-2825.
Dog owners must show proof of residency in one of two Rancho Cordova zip codes.
Additionally, Kirrene says if pit bull owners license their altered dog, they can save more than $100 in annual licensing fees.
More information is available at the Sacramento SPCA website.