This series highlights the people and organizations making spay/neuter more accessible around the country. Thanks to their efforts, more and more people are finding the resources they need to access spay/neuter services in their communities. From maintaining statewide directories, to answering questions, and problem solving to find workable solutions to real problems, these Statewide Leaders are changing the landscape of spay/neuter in their communities and beyond.
Today, we caught up with Peggy McCorkle Cropp, our Statewide Leader with SPAY ALABAMA.
How did you get started in this work – what drew you to spay/neuter advocacy?
In 2007, I was looking for some kind of volunteer opportunity and happened to find out about our local low-cost spay and neuter clinic which had just opened. I knew nothing about the concept as a whole but was fortunate enough to volunteer in a facility that was willing to let me watch and answer my questions, and I was fascinated from the start.
My first job was cleaning surgical tools and I eventually joined the staff as the Transport Director working with individuals and shelters transporting animals in from several different counties for their surgeries.
While at the clinic, I was fortunate enough to work with Donald Kendrick (founder of SPAY ALABAMA) for a couple of years, and he taught me so many things. I remember him telling me how inhumane it is for female cats and dogs to wander around frantically looking for their kittens/puppies (that had been picked up by animal control, rescued or even taken by their owner). As a mother myself, this really hit hard and it fueled my passion to want to spay every female that I could get the opportunity to assist.
After leaving the clinic in 2010, I began volunteering for its biggest client, Friends of Cats and Dogs Foundation, where I now serve on the Board of Directors.
Tell us more about what you do. What services does your organization offer?
Friends of Cats & Dogs Foundation has been in existence since 1991. Our ONLY mission is to provide low cost spay and neuter assistance to those in need. We have no physical building and we are completely volunteer so there is no overhead cost; therefore 98% of our funds go directly to the cause while the other 2% pays for certificates, envelopes, and postage. To date, we have assisted in fixing over 50,000 animals with certificate orders and requests for help still coming in daily.
We do not attend events like other non-profits do, but rely on social media, search engines, and word of mouth referrals to reach those in need. We have also found that business cards with our website, phone number, and pricing information have been well received by most people, some of whom still contact me years later to ask for assistance.
What has been your greatest success? What are you proudest of?
We have participated in World Spay Day for years but my absolute favorite was in 2015. That year we were able to pair two non-profit organizations to work in conjunction with three vet clinics for a single Spay Day effort. We fixed 201 animals in one day! The public paid $10 per animal, FCDF paid for all surgeries, another non-profit paid for all the rabies shots, and the vet clinics covered the cost of pain medicine. This was an amazing project that then led to many others, though none as big as this one.
What has been the most challenging?
My biggest challenge is the same as it has always been – lack of public awareness/education. Many people in Alabama have no clue what spay or neuter means, much less what it’s going to cost them. We also have no spay or neuter laws in this state. I try to do my best to walk each person through the process and I am a big believer in educating/assisting in a kind manner, knowing that our main goal is to get the animal fixed no matter what obstacles might be faced with his or her human.
Does any story stand out in particular? A favorite anecdote from your state spay/neuter program?
While working at the low-cost clinic, we helped a man with a free surgery for his dog, Molly. He had zero funds and no transportation (due to a recent divorce) but was desperate to have her spayed. He borrowed a car to get her to us, I got funding to cover his cost in full, and we also managed to get about 800 pounds of dog food donated to him (he cried). About a month later, this same man showed up at the clinic asking for me. He said that he and Molly had used bits and pieces of materials to make a Christmas flower arrangement for me…my turn to cry. I have no doubt that he and Molly came into my life for a reason that Christmas. Their story continues to give me inspiration to help others that truly cannot help their misfortune and just need a little help.
What is your greatest need right now? How can folks help?
Our organization is funded solely by private donors and we are constantly being asked for assistance. For instance, we were recently asked to help twenty-five animals in need all from three back-to-back phone calls! We are very careful with our checkbook and projects such as these put a huge dent in it. Therefore, donations to FCDF.org are ALWAYS appreciated (of course tax receipts are available since we are a registered non-profit). We never need donations of pet food or supplies because we only concentrate on our mission, which includes giving out free surgeries when necessary.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Unfortunately, Alabama will have a hard time to spay/neuter its way out of our enormous overpopulation problem, but Friends of Cats and Dogs Foundation – and SPAY ALABAMA – is definitely going to give it our best effort.
To find spay/neuter services through SPAY ALABAMA visit https://spayal.org/
To learn more about Friends of Cats & Dogs Foundation visit http://www.fcdf.org/.