Beginning in January 2021, the Callaway County Humane Society will re-brand as "SNIP and Chip" and cut back on rescue efforts, society President Sandy Corbet said.
The move comes as Corbet, 65, looks toward retirement without a clear successor for the local Humane Society's rescue efforts. Her term as president ends Dec. 31, 2021.
"I'm the only one who does rescue, and I've been trying to find somebody for years that would replace me," she said. "I'm just getting older, and I've been doing it for 10-11 years."
The CCHS has rescued and re-homed at least 700 dogs in that time, Corbet said. Though volunteers foster many of the dogs, her own home serves as the rescue's main facility.
Corbet didn't want to shutter the CCHS all together, so she proposed refocusing its resources and efforts on other less time- and resource-intensive programs. Humane Society board members approved the change earlier this year.
"SNIP" stands for "Spay/Neuter Initiative Program," while "Chip" is short for microchip.
CCHS already offers spay/neuter vouchers, which give pet owners a $30 discount on the procedures at Callaway County veterinarians' offices.
Beginning in 2021, those vouchers will be worth $50, and they'll be open to all Callaway County residents, with no income restrictions.
Corbet noted the $30 vouchers are still available through the end of 2020; applications can be found at callawaycountyhumanesociety.org. All Callaway County veterinarians accept the vouchers, she said.
County residents may begin requesting the $50 vouchers this December — email [email protected] for more information. (The organization's new website, snipandchip.org, isn't yet fully functional.)
Corbet said about 80 percent of the animals the Humane Society takes in are surrendered by their owners, for one reason or another. She hopes emphasizing spaying and neutering will steadily reduce the number of homeless and unwanted pets in the community.
"I feel like we're not doing as much as we could do for the county," she said. "We decided to focus where we thought we could make more of an impact."
She plans to do more trapping and neutering of Callaway County's many feral cats, too. This effort will replace the CCHS's usual "Beat the Heat" program.
The CCHS already offers microchip clinics, too, but in 2021, they hope to offer one each month. Microchipping costs $25 for one pet, or $20 per pet for multiple pets. Registering that microchip helps increase the odds that should the pet go missing or be stolen and sold, it will someday be identified and make it home.
Corbet said SNIP and Chip will offer seasonal specials — for example, in October black or orange cats could earn a free spay or neuter.
Another existing CCHS program, "Home for the Holidays," will continue into 2021 and beyond. The Humane Society provides insulated dog houses, straw bales and extra food to help dogs that live outside stay warm over the winter. For more information, call 573-826-5656.
Though Corbet initially said the organization will stop doing rescue work, she later clarified they'll continue to do so, but only for "animals in crisis ones that have been abandoned or hit by a car — the ones that are are really in trouble."
Animals in trouble may be reported through a form on the CCHS's website. Because the CCHS doesn't have a kennel, they'll continue to need volunteers to foster rescued dogs and cats. The society will continue to maintain its PetFinder and Facebook pages, Corbet said.
For other pets — a surprise litter of puppies or a cat that can't move with its owner into the new apartment — Corbet plans to work on strengthening the CCHS's relationships with other rescue organizations.
"Maybe we can get it into a breed-specific rescue," she said. "We're going to build our network of other rescues, other options, so if we get somebody that can't keep their dog, we can maybe get them some other options."
CCHS regularly refers people to the Central Missouri Humane Society (which will put Callaway County animals on its waiting list), Unchained Melodies, People Helping Paws, and rescues in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.
"We're still going to do a couple of fundraisers people like — we'll continue with the dog wash and probably do the street fair and Santa Paws," Corbet added.
The changes kick in Jan. 1.
"Hopefully with spay and neuter, we'll make a bigger impact in the community," Corbet said.