When people think of the month of February, most think of Black History Month, Valentine's Day or Leap Year. Animal welfare advocates and rescuers will be quick to add that it's also National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and that World Spay Day falls on Feb. 28.
One area animal advocacy organization, LifeLine Animal Project, is encouraging responsible pet ownership in February by offering free spay/neuter for pit bulls and pit mixes whose owners live in Dekalb, Fulton and Clayton counties.
The promotion, called "Free Fix For Pits", has the animal welfare group working in tandem with the Humane Society of the United States Pets For Life Atlanta program to target the issue of pet overpopulation.
"On any given day up to 70 percent of all dogs in metro Atlanta's animal control shelters are pit bulls or pit mixes," states Rebecca Guinn, LifeLine's executive director. "We are honored to partner with the Humane Society of the United States to help these deserving animals and break the cycle of overpopulation, abandonment and abuse."
Over 100,000 dogs and cats enter Atlanta area shelters in a year's time and more than half will be euthanized, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $15 million annually.
LifeLine, a 10-year old Atlanta non-profit located in Avondale Estates, operates two low cost spay and neuter clinics -- one inside and one outside the perimeter. Their mission is to stop the euthanization of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in shelters.
The surgeries in the "Free Fix For Pits" program will be performed at their clinics. Since their inception they have spayed or neutered over 40,000 pets.
In addition to the free surgeries offered, every pet owner from any county in the state who spays or neuters a dog or cat of any breed at either of LifeLine's clnics in February will be entered in a drawing to win the following prizes: a free family membership from Fernbank Museum (a $95 value) and a pet portrait session from photographer Tami Chappell of Dogumentary Portraits, valued at $200.
Chappell is a well-regarded photographer who is known for her news, sports and animal photos. She has photographed the Atlanta Braves for many years.
But wait -- as they say in television infomercials -- there's more. Coupons for local pet-related businesses will be available for owners who get their pets fixed, including discount coupons for popular re-sale shop Second Life, another Avondale non-profit that benefits local animal rescue groups.
Want to participate but your dog or cat is already fixed? Supporters who donate $20 or more to LifeLine during February can also qualify to win the Fernbank membership or pet portrait session.
If you want to be included in the drawing simply write "Spay/Neuter Awareness" in the comments section when donating online, or note it on your check if mailing your contribution. You can also donate and not participate in the drawing. All donations are tax-deductible.