Project to Map Underserved Communities at the County Level
United Spay Alliance promotes spay/neuter that is affordable, accessible, and timely. While we all focus heavily on the affordability of spay/neuter services, ease of accessibility to those services is also critical. Yet, especially for residents of rural areas, there are often no affordable spay/neuter providers within a reasonable driving distance. Many rural counties across the country lack not only veterinary clinics, but also basic government animal control and sheltering services. This accessibility problem is magnified for cat and dog guardians who may lack financial resources, access to transportation, or even the ability to take time off from work to have their cats and dogs spayed/neutered.
We need a comprehensive national picture of which communities are underserved with respect to spay/neuter resources. As a practical matter, this information would help spay/neuter professionals and their supporters to target resources. At a policy level, this information would help us to better understand the scale of the pet overpopulation problem while making a compelling, data-driven case for spay/neuter assistance programs.
United Spay Alliance proposes to undertake a project to map spay/neuter accessibility across the nation’s 3,000-plus counties. We would begin by defining what we mean by spay/neuter accessibility (e.g., in terms of distance to provider and pricing). Then, in collaboration with our nationwide network of state and local partners, we would apply this definition to the spay/neuter provider landscape. We would begin the project by conducting pilot work in 3-5 states located in different regions of the country. Once completed, the resulting accessibility map could be regularly updated to track improvements.
United Spay Alliance is actively working to launch this important project.