For the first time in history, the Lawton Animal Welfare District is participating in a national program to aid in cutting down on pet overpopulation. The program, Spay Neuter Assistance Program, or S*N*A*P, will feature a free surgical spay and neuter clinic on Saturday, March 19th, starting at 8 a.m.

The program is limited to Lawton residents and will take place in the Expo Building at the Comanche Country Fairgrounds. The clinic is free, but its on a first come, first serve basis, and your pet must be between 6 months and 6 years of age. All pet owners must bring I.D., and the clinic will include spaying in neutering, micro-chipping of your pet and a 5-in-1 vaccination shot and a rabies shot. You will also receive a city license for your pet.

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Prior to any procedure or vaccinations, pets will be checked out by a vet to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. This event is being sponsored by local businesses who are underwriting the cost of the clinic, and veterinarians are donating their time to do the work.

The Lawton Animal Welfare district holds its monthly "Two Hearts" adoption event at the shelter, but according to Lawton Animal Welfare Superintendent Russell Anderson, there is no way they can "adopt their way" out of pet over-population. With spring and summer approaching, the shelters will face an upswing in the numbers of homeless and unwanted dogs and cats. Anderson says the district has been planning to put S.N.A.P. in place for about a year. There will also be an adopt-a-thon coinciding with the clinic, making the day of the event a "one stop shopping" for pet owners who can't afford to have their animals spayed or neutered.

Lawton Animal Welfare is still looking for more local veterinarians to participate in the program. If you are a local vet that would like to donate your time to the spay and neuter program, please contact Lawton Animal Welfare at 580-581-3219.

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