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Dog Days effort offers spay/neuter vouchers for qualifying owners

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Income restrictions are not stringent, Pet Protection president says

By Robert Villanueva

By ROBERT VILLANUEVA

rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — Hardin County Pet Protection hopes to help decrease the unwanted pet population with its new Dog Days of Summer spay and neuter program which runs through the end of August.

The free program is for low-income pet owners.

“We’re really lenient with it,” Hardin County Pet Protection President Gayle Johnson said of the income guidelines.

An application can be picked up at Buried Treasure thrift store on Main Street in Elizabethtown, which is operated by Hardin County Pet Protection. Applicants should bring some form of proof of income and identification.

“Any person that receives a food stamp card and shows an I.D. can get a voucher,” Johnson said.

Vouchers can be presented at Elizabethtown Animal Hospital or Dixie Animal Hospital in Jefferson County for the free spay/neuter service.

Hardin County Pet Protection depends on its relationships with veterinarians.

“E’town Animal Hospital has been very good to us,” Johnson said.

This is the first year for the “Dog Days of Summer” program. Each February the organization holds a free spay day. This year that resulted in 168 vouchers for the service.

“It definitely makes a dent,” Johnson said.

In fact, Johnson has noticed a decrease in the number of free pet ads in local newspapers since the organization was founded 20 years ago to promote spaying and neutering.

“I kind of credit that to this program,” she said.

Johnson hopes the Dog Days of Summer program will be successful enough to continue it annually with the February free spay day. While she hopes the programs eventually make Hardin County Animal Control unnecessary, Johnson said not many people are familiar with Hardin County Pet Protection or know it is funded, in part, by sales at Buried Treasure thrift store.

The thrift store location has changed a few times over the years, often making it something of a surprise to area residents. Its current location at 516 N. Main St. is its fourth.

“Every single day people come in and say ‘I didn’t know you were here,’” Johnson said.

Buried Treasure thrift store, which is open Wednesday through Saturday, receives donated items to sell.

Hardin County Pet Protection donates funds to Hardin County Animal Control, which offers free spay or neuter services to any animal adopted that’s old enough for the procedure.

This year, Hardin County Pet Protection will donate $20,000 to the facility.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.