Spay/Neuter Statewide Leaders Meet
The second 2021 meeting of United Spay Alliance Statewide Leaders took place on June 22. The spirit of the alliance was evident. The organization fosters a network of grassroots state leaders in what I call ‘public health for companion animals.’ The goal of public health is always the prevention of illness and suffering. If we know anything, we know that preventing unwanted litters of kittens and puppies is the most effective, least costly, and most humane way to prevent companion animal suffering.
From the beginning, state leaders have shown a willingness to share. Unlike other organizations which are organized in a pyramid fashion, United Spay Alliance is a national network of people who “get” the significance of reducing the numbers of unplanned litters. While rescue and transport remain important tools in creating better lives for our companions, without a strong focus on reducing bottom line numbers, the other efforts will never, ever, be enough. Part of our task is to make this common knowledge. As of now, unfortunately, it is not common knowledge.
The way United Spay Alliance is meant to—and does—operate was evident during the meeting. One of the state leaders brought up the difficulty she was having in persuading other spay/neuter advocates in her state to agree to work with her. Their problem statewide was fundraising and they were suspicious of her motives for wanting to work together. Others in the meeting reassured her that she was not alone in dealing with suspicion and mistrust, and that the best reaction is simply to keep working on reaching her goal — and offering to share her experience and insights with them. Another state leader, Julie Jacobson from Tennessee then offered to give a webinar for them on fundraising so they could invite their state’s spay/neuter colleagues to attend a free training. This led to discussion about building statewide efforts, which led to holding annual state conferences. For now, that will be with Zoom. Another state leader, Cheri Storms from Indiana spoke up and offered to mentor anyone who would like to put together a state spay/neuter conference online.
The topic of the companion animal veterinarian shortage came up, and how United Spay Alliance might help to address the issue. Some states are currently working on building statewide publicly funded programs. The USA web site has a comprehensive paper on these, and offers mentorship for groups ready to create such a program. United Spay Alliance also offers help by helping update lists of affordable service providers and updating state websites. (www.unitedspayalliance.org).
We hope that more state leaders will put the September 14 meeting on their calendars to join us with more questions, issues, problems, and answers! If you are interested in how you can become involved (become a Statewide Leader) with the United Spay Alliance please email email@example.com.