Mary Jones flickered her fingers through a wire crate Thursday to reassure Princess before the 6-month-old pug mix went under the knife at the Dogwood Park Spay and Neuter Clinic in Grovetown.
In early May, the dog suffered a compound bone fracture during a car crash. With her back right leg ripping through her golden fur, the limb had to be amputated.
This week, the pup became one of the first animals from Taliaferro County, Ga., to be spayed or neutered through the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Dog and Cat Sterilization Grant program, created by the Legislature in 2003 to control overpopulation.
Using money raised by the sale of Georgia’s dog and cat auto license plates, 10 dogs and six cats were fixed.
After the operation, Jones held Princess in her arms. The pup soon will be shipped to the Home for Good Dog Rescue in Summit, N.J., for a new family to take her on walks. The rescue is paying for all of Princess’ medical expenses.
“The reward in all of this is providing our pets with better lives,” said Jones, the director of the Helping Hands Humane Society in Crawfordville, Ga.
Three of the animals from Thursday’s operation, including Princess, were from Helping Hands. The rest were from low-income families in Taliaferro County.
The group received a $4,000 state grant in April. By the end of the year, the nonprofit plans to spay or neuter about 24 more dogs and cats. It costs more to operate on dogs because of the complexity of the procedure and the amount of anesthesia needed.
Georgia Agricultural Secretary Gary Black said that more than 70,000 procedures have been performed by 1,200 veterinarians statewide through the sterilization grant program since 2003 and that the “efforts will continue to be expanded.”
Jones said she was happy to hear Black’s words, because in Georgia, 260,000 dogs and cats die each year because of a lack of homes.
“There can never be a home for every dog and cat,” Jones said. “The only way to solve the problem is to spay and neuter.”
Dr. Cregory Cranford, a veterinarian at the Dogwood Park clinic, said it plans to fix 4,000 animals this year, a figure the U.S. Humane Society calculated based on the euthanasia rate as the total needed to help control the local pet population.
“We’re on track, and Princess is getting along great,” Cranford said, as the pup bounced through the clinic, balancing her body on three legs.
“Through our help, you would never know these animals’ stories.”