Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is a well-known local animal welfare group, but what exactly do they do? They don’t rescue dogs from puppy mills or high-kill shelters. They don’t rehabilitate emaciated pets. They don’t offer adorable puppies and kittens for adoption. Yet Lincoln Animal Ambassadors provides essential services to the Lancaster County pet community as part of its mission to “address the root cause of animal homelessness”. In this article, I’ll describe the group’s services.
One service offered by LAA is a low-cost spay/neuter program for those residing in Lancaster County who are unable to pay the full cost of altering their pet. Spaying and neutering reduces the risk of cancer in both males and females. It also curbs undesirable behaviors such as aggression and the insatiable desire to seek attention from the opposite sex. Just as important, according to animal welfare experts, spaying and neutering is one of the best ways to curb pet overpopulation. And when one looks at the numbers, we clearly have an issue. To cite just two stats: 2.4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year as a result of overpopulation. In addition, there are estimated 70 million homeless dogs and cats. By making spay/neuter more affordable, LAA makes these benefits more accessible.
How can you take advantage of LAA’s low-cost spay/neuter program? To have your name added to the low cost spay/neuter program wait list, complete the form at LAA’s website or leave a message at 402-817-1168. A LAA volunteer will return your call. A short phone interview will be conducted to obtain information for completing a voucher, which includes determining what veterinarian clinic from a select list you intend to use. The voucher will be issued to both you and the selected veterinarian clinic during the interview. Once you receive the voucher, the responsibility will fall on you to schedule a vet appointment and to take your pet to it. The amount you’ll pay to have your pet spayed/neutered will depend on what you can afford. The difference is covered by donations, fundraisers, and grants.
Another service offered by LAA is a pet food bank for those residing in Lancaster County who are in need of temporary help in caring for their pets. This service helps provide relief to the emotional stress of owners who aren’t able to provide for their pets. It also reduces the number of pets that end up being taken to already overcrowded shelters. One study ranked cost as the fourth most common reason for pet relinquishment. In addition, numerous pet food bank sites cite this startling statistic: financial hardship accounts for approximately 25% of the pets that are surrendered to shelters.
Companion animals and their people often rely on each other for their mental and physical well-being, so this program helps prevent the trauma that results for both the pets and their people, when they cannot afford to feed, care for or keep their pets.
How can you take advantage of LAA’s pet food bank program? To have your name added to the pet food program, complete the form at LAA’s website or leave a message at 402-817-1168. You’ll need to agree to participate in LAA’s low-cost spay/neuter program if your pet(s) are unaltered, as well as showing proof of financial need. For those receiving WIC, Medicaid, or food stamps, provide a statement of qualifying benefit period. Others can prove financial need by documenting all earned and unearned income, including: paycheck stubs for the past month, child support or unemployment compensation benefits, and/or a copy of last year’s income tax form. (More details can be found on the LAA website by clicking the link provided below.) LAA’s Pet Food Pickup location is 4640 Bair Avenue. Days and times for pickup may vary according to volunteer availability. When you pick up pet food, which can be for multiple pets, you’ll need to show a current driver’s license. A household can receive pet food once every thirty days. The food bank is supported solely by donations, fundraisers, and grants. This means assistance is NOT guaranteed, is on a case-by-case basis, and is only temporary.
Another service offered by LAA is a low-cost shot clinic. This service helps brings affordable pet care to families. Although offerings vary based on location, options for care might include vaccinations and heartworm and flea prevention. Vaccinations are essential for protecting pets from contagious diseases. Preventing heartworm and fleas is easier than treatment after the fact, and according to the American Heartworm Association “prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease”.
How can you take advantage of LAA’s low-cost shot clinic? Clinic locations, hours, and offerings are listed at LAA’s website. No appointments are necessary. No exam fees are charged. Some of the clinics provide free health check for any pets that receive vaccinations and offer reduced costs for other services, such as allergy shots, ear cleaning, nail trimming, and expressing of anal glands.
The final service of LAA is education. LAA is committed to “creating positive change for local companion animals, and we firmly believe that change comes through education.” As such, LAA offers both presentations and educational materials on responsible pet ownership, basic behavior training, the importance and benefits of spay/neuter, and other topics. On a weekly basis, you can also find informative and human interest articles right here at LAA Pet Talk.
When I started blogging for Lincoln Animal Ambassadors almost two years ago, I have to admit that I knew little about the group’s services. I simply wanted to use my creative talents to help animals. As I learned more about LAA’s services, I grew proud of my involvement with the group. Please follow LAA Pet Talk over the next month as I introduce you to some of the wonderful people who make this vital community group thrive. And, on May 26, please support all the valuable services that LAA provides by donating to LAA as part of Give to Lincoln Day.