Historic collaboration to spay or neuter 50,000 pets through #SpayTogether for animal shelters and clinics after height of pandemic

By Julie Castle

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as animal welfare organizations and their partners were forced to close their doors to the public, they swiftly shifted gears and moved unprecedented numbers of homeless dogs and cats into foster and adoptive homes. And now, three months later, we’re working together to help address another critical component of our work: spay/neuter.

This week, we kicked off #SpayTogether — an initiative comprising 27 national organizations, including Best Friends. The initiative will help address the need for spay/neuter surgery support in all 50 states after non-emergency veterinary services were paused in early March. As states begin to reopen and lift restrictions on businesses and services, animal shelters and veterinary clinics in every state are facing backlogs of unaltered dogs and cats in their communities.

Spay/neuter is one of the building blocks of our lifesaving movement. Last year, more than 74,000 pets were spayed or neutered through Best Friends programs and clinics. We can’t reduce the number of pets entering shelters and save more lives without this essential service. I helped lead one of the nation’s first statewide mobile spay/neuter operations as part of No More Homeless Pets in Utah in the early 2000s, and I’m proud that Best Friends is a founding member of this groundbreaking collaboration today.

This initiative will provide surgery support grants, on-the-ground assistance, training in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgeries, and discounted veterinary supplies and services to shelters and veterinary clinics affected by COVID-19. Participating spay/neuter veterinary clinics will be able to offer discounted surgeries to the public, providing much-needed help to communities across the U.S.

While #SpayTogether will impact every state in the country, the coalition has identified eight states most in need of spay/neuter support: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, California, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Oklahoma. Expert veterinary surgical support teams from the ASPCA, Animal Balance, ViDAS and Emancipet will provide on-site support, as needed, in the eight key states. Community assessments that consider state and local emergency orders, equipment needs and safety protocols will determine the timing of these activities.

Spay/neuter programs and surgeries are a cornerstone of the no-kill movement and efforts to reduce the number of pets entering our nation’s animal shelters. Groundbreaking collaborations like #SpayTogether undoubtedly will become the new standard for both animal and human services as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to reverberate across the country and the world.

#SpayTogether is possible thanks to the support of the Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, PetSmart Charities, GreaterGood.org, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA, Inc., Banfield Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, ASPCA, Petco Foundation, BISSELL Pet Foundation, Michelson Found Animals, Clinic HQ, Animal Balance, University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, PetPro Tele+, Emancipet, Georgia B. Ridder Foundation, IDEXX, Bark Avenue Foundation, ViDAS, DogsTrust USA, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Peter and Ann Lambertus Family Foundation, Life of Riley, South Fork Foundation, and the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society