SALINAS VALLEY — Spaying and neutering for pets was conducted locally and affordably with a visit from the SNIP Bus, which operated in Greenfield on May 16 and Soledad on May 17.
With the exception of this past March, the SNIP Bus has visited South Monterey County every month since August 2018, varying between one and three days spent in the region. This weekend’s mobile clinic operations saw 58 total animals fixed.
“It’s so very much needed in South County,” said Carla Strobridge Stewart, both the board president for South County Animal Rescue (SCAR) and city council member for the City of Soledad. “The closest spay and neuter service is the SPCA, but the SPCA has not been doing surgeries since beginning of shelter in place.”
The low cost spay and neuter clinic charges an affordable rate to pet owners, which can further be assisted by vouchers from SCAR. Of the 58 pets this weekend, 45 had their operations with the help of vouchers.
Melanie Scherer, the founder and owner of SNIP Bus, seeks out sponsorships and grants to help keep costs low, with the mobile clinics costing an estimated $3,000 per day to operate.
“It’s already made a difference in South County in regard to unwanted litters, and there’s still a lot more work to do,” Stewart said.
Stewart explained SCAR had set aside $10,000 in funding to commit to 10 months of $1,000 funding for the SNIP Bus to operate in the area. Last weekend was the second time the bus has been to Greenfield.
“There’s a huge demand,” Stewart said. “They have a waiting list for South County. There’s never a time where they don’t have a full clinic.”
She said under normal circumstances, local organizations like SCAR would work with King City Veterinary Hospital and Los Coches Animal Hospital in Soledad to provide affordable spay and neuter clinics in addition to the SNIP Bus. But, pandemic safety concerns leading to shutdowns have left the SNIP Bus as the only option in South Monterey County.
The local cities have worked in collaboration with the organizations. Stewart credited Soledad city staff with being helpful in setup and in use of city property for preparations, both in the past and during current clinics. Though the cities can’t afford to financially support the organizations, she said they are able to support in kind.
The latest Soledad clinic was held on Front Street at the park and ride, while the Greenfield clinic was set up at Patriot Park.
In addition to the SNIP Bus, pets and their owners are being helped through food distribution efforts hosted by SCAR. Pet Food Pantries are scheduled throughout the South Monterey County area on a weekly basis.
In Soledad, the pantries are held at the Salvation Army on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m.
At San Lucas School, they take place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. At San Antonio School in Lockwood, they take place on Thursdays from 8 to 9 a.m. At Bradley Post Office, they take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.
In King City, they take place at the King City Recreation Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.
SCAR does not run pantry locations, and recommends calling each site before heading over for a food pantry event. They are hosted for South County residents only, as Salinas residents are urged to contact the SPCA food pantry.
“When we first announced it, the very next day the Soledad location was completely empty,” said Stewart, adding that there is great need for pet food locally.
Meanwhile, the SNIP Bus is planning a return to South County in June, with final dates to be confirmed. Stewart said two days are planned for Soledad and one day is planned for Greenfield, for a total of three days in the area.