Spay & neuter nonprofit for underprivileged pet owners asks for volunteers, donations

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A local non-profit organization was established over 25 years ago and is run entirely by volunteers – with the aim of helping to limit pet overpopulation by removing financial barriers so that no anyone can neuter or neuter their pets.

“It’s a good program,” Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway said after the commission unanimously approved $40,000 in funding for SNAP for 2022. “It’s something we have supported for the past nine years that I have served on the commission. We will continue to support it, and we were just able to put some extra money into it this year to help.

SNAP is described on its website as an initiative that significantly reduces the financial burden of pet repair, down to just $5 for those who qualify.

President Janice Gibbons says it makes a serious difference for underprivileged families in the fight against animal overpopulation, and in prevent health problems for current pets.

“Low-income pet sitters have other priorities,” Gibbons said. “They can have children. They may have other things to do with their money. And we just give them the opportunity to be responsible pet owners.

According to Haraway, the county’s financial commitment to the program is a wise investment in preventing officials from catching future stray cats and dogs at the expense of taxpayers. Gibbons says since the organization’s founding in 1994, cat and dog consumption at Huntsville Animal Services has halved.

“As the population continues to grow, we’re going to have more animals roaming around the county and so that helps the county’s overall program,” Haraway said.

However, Madison County’s money pales in comparison to all other costs, Gibbons said.

The SNAP Thrift Store on Bob Wallace Avenue funds the majority, with proceeds used to cover the costs and logistics of getting eligible families’ pets repaired. Gibbons tells News 19 that the organization ran out of a sufficient amount of volunteers to help has been running the store since the start of the pandemic.

One of the volunteers currently working at the store is Gina Segars, who heard the pandemic had taken its toll on the organization and decided to help just six months ago.

“I feel good when I’m here,” Segars said. “We meet all kinds of different people. We have people who have never heard of Snap and didn’t know we were here. And then we have people coming in who need help with their animals, so we give them the information they need to help take care of their animals.

In addition to monetary donations, SNAP welcomes items in good condition to donate to its thrift store, as well as pet supplies, pet treats, and used vehicles.