The Keystone of Animal Welfare

Categories: Cats, Clinic, Dogs

In ecology, a “keystone” species is the one that holds an ecosystem together. It fills a critical role that no other species can and if it is removed, the whole ecosystem falls apart. In the North Bay animal welfare world, that keystone is Napa Humane’s low-cost Spay/Neuter clinic. We have the only clinic of its kind in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, and Marin Counties. Other local animal welfare groups describe their services as including spay/neuter, and raise money specifically for it, but the truth is, Napa Humane performs and subsidizes all the low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for our community – as many as 5,000 per year. 

Napa Humane’s Clinic uses private donations and grants to pay for nearly all of the costs of performing spay/neuter surgery – the supplies, labor, operating room, insurance, etc. The amount we can’t fully cover with our own donations, we charge the public as a fixed fee. The result is a very low cost surgery compared to private veterinary offices. Spaying a dog at an unsubsidized vet clinic can cost $400-$800 or more; Napa Humane charges only $150.

Few people know that when local rescue groups, shelters, and other nonprofits raise money for spay/neuter, they simply pay that artificially low fee for us to do it. Napa Humane still covers the vast majority of the costs of performing the surgery, using our own funds and staff to actually get the job done.

Napa Humane receives no government funding, and nothing from national organizations like the Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA. Private donations and grants pay for our entire budget. If our funding can’t cover the costs of providing low-cost surgeries for our local shelters, rescues, and local pet owners, we will have to charge more for our services – reducing access when the animals need us most.

We are so grateful that our local partners in animal welfare recognize the critical importance of low-cost spay/neuter for our pets, and that they work with us to help reduce needless suffering. Prevention really is the only solution to pet homelessness, and their efforts raising awareness of the issue is so important to our shared cause! Vouchers from our partners have helped protect hundreds of innocent pets for whom our subsidized fees were still too high.

But the inescapable truth is this: Our animal welfare ecosystem only works when someone provides low-cost spay/neuter surgery – actually paying for the real costs, and actually doing the work. 

If you want to support spay/neuter, support it where it happens. Our low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic is the keystone for our community, but we can not continue to do it without your support.

Will you help us today?



Photo Credit: Seymour&McIntosh

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