By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A national grant will help the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society save hundreds of pit bulls and pit mixes from euthanasia.
PetSmart Charities provided a $50,000 grant to the TLHS’s Spay and Neuter Clinic for discount sterilizations of this breed.
The procedure normally costs $65 for dogs, but pit bulls and pit mixes can be fixed for $15 thanks to the grant.
The goal is to sterilize 1,000 of these dogs from Lee and Pontotoc counties within two years. Owners must show proof of residency.
“We put down hundreds of pit bulls and pit bull mixes each year, because they’re just a more difficult breed to find a home for,” said animal shelter Director Debbie Hood. “A lot of the rescue groups won’t even take them.”
Pit bulls account for several breeds of dogs with similar characteristics and origins. Known for their strength and stamina, these dogs are commonly – but not exclusively – bred as fighters and have been involved in fatal attacks through the years.
But pit bull advocates are quick to note that many dogs from this lineage are kind and loving pets.
From July last year to July this year, the Tupelo shelter accepted 664 pit bulls or pit bull mixes – a 31 percent increase from the same period one year prior.
Of those, just 21 were adopted. Hundreds more were euthanized.
Hood said sterilizing pit bulls and pit mixes will reduce the number of unwanted puppies entering the shelter and ultimately save lives. It’s called the Pit Pals Spay/Neuter Program.
“With dedicated focus and a plan like Tupelo’s Pit Pals Spay/Neuter Program, we are able to make strides toward helping end homeless-pet-overpopulation,” said Susana Della Maddalena, vice president and executive director of PetSmart Charities in a press release. “Successful, low-cost spay/neuter programs like this one are so valuable to local communities, and PetSmart Charities is proud to be able to support these life-saving initiatives.”