SAN ANTONIO – Spay Neuter Inject Protect of San Antonio (SNIPSA) connects the community and enriches the lives of San Antonio’s pet populations by providing rescue, rehabilitation, adoption, and low cost spay and neuter options.
In 2004, a group of veterinarians and animal supporters came together with the common goal of saving lives in San Antonio and the surrounding area. Unsure of how time might evolve their efforts, they coined the name SNIPSA. Finally, in 2006, SNIPSA was incorporated and has since re-homed over 19,000 animals.
Unlike most rescue groups, SNIPSA does not have a standing shelter and therefore relies on fosters to rehabilitate animals in their homes. This provides SNIPSA with the opportunity to learn first-hand about the animal’s needs and behavior in order to facilitate an appropriate adoption.
“We persistently showed up at animal control week after week asking to pull one pet after another,” said Sherri Fitcher, SNIPSA’s operation manager.
In SNIPSA’s first year, they removed 423 dogs and cats, most who were considered unsavable due to medical issues like heartworms and mange. While SNIPSA occasionally intake animals from the general public, they try to focus on pulling animals from area kill shelters.
“We believe this is where we can really make a difference,” Fitcher said. “Saving animals from possible euthanasia. We have so many wonderful stories of broken, sick, or just discarded animals coming into our program, and with our help, blossom into adoptable animals.”
It was obvious that adoption alone would not solve the city’s homeless animal problem. So, in 2009, SNIPSA launched their Big Fix clinics, a locally untested model to bring free sterilization to the neighborhoods where families and pets needed it most.
Now considered one of SNIPSA’s unique attributes, their Big Fix clinics are held several times a year. These clinics offer free spay/neuter services to under-served San Antoni areas. The Big Fix provides sterilization, vaccinations and microchipping to over 400 cats and dogs in a single day.
“Our Big Fix clinics are truly a feat to be seen,” Fitcher said. “Community centers are transformed into surgical suites, and countless veterinarians, staff, and volunteers come together to change our community.”
After 16 years, SNIPSA continued to grow, and has since re-homed 16,892 dogs and cats from area shelters and provided 19,633 free spay/neuter surgeries.
The global pandemic also made an impact on adoptions. With everyone home during the pandemic, adoptions almost doubled for SNIPSA.
“It makes sense,” Fitcher said. “Who wouldn’t want to have a furry friend by their side while working from home?”
Fitcher said SNIPSA was unfortunately unable to continue with their Big Fix clinics for almost a year due to the pandemic.
With large gatherings prohibited, they had to pivot and make sure they could still provide low-cost services for the community in need.
“That meant that we hustled and amped up our in-office surgeries,” Fitcher said. “COVID couldn’t keep us down!”
SNIPSA also has a full-time veterinary technician on staff in addition to two surgical veterinarians that perform spay/neuter surgeries. SNIPSA director and veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Espy, provides all medical care for their adoptable animals. SNIPSA partners with several other veterinarians for specialty services such as broken bones, eye issues and hip replacements.
There are numerous volunteer opportunities at SNIPSA. They even require over 200 volunteers for their Big Fix clinics. In addition to their clinics, they need volunteers for their monthly adoption events, clean up on surgery days, walking dogs at the office, office paperwork, transporting animals from shelters to our office and more.
“Truly the opportunities are abundant,” Fitcher said. “Perhaps the biggest volunteering position is fostering! It is a wonderful opportunity without a long-term commitment. Fosters provide a temporary, loving safe environment along with exercise and socialization. SNIPSA provides all supplies – collar, leash, food, toys, crate bowls, etc. It’s a win-win for everyone!”
SNIPSA welcomes all volunteers if they meet the age restrictions. Those interested may sign up through Timecounts at Timecounts.org/snipsa.
“The real story is the individual story of each of those 35,000 dogs and cats, each one with a name, face, personality and life worth protecting,” Fitcher said. “While we know our work is never done, we find great satisfaction in waking up day after day to serve and protect those who cannot speak for themselves.” For more information on SNIPSA, visit https://snipsa.org/ .
There is no ads to display, Please add some