Big Fix for Big D

Dallas brings back popular program for animals that's 100-percent free

Dallas brings back popular program for animals that's 100-percent free

Dallas Animal Services, Cate McManus
A free spay and neuter program for animals in Dallas returns. Photo courtesy of Dallas Animal Services

A valuable program providing free spay and neuter services for animals has been revived in Dallas, targeting three neighborhoods with the highest need.

The program is called "Big Fix for Big D," and it's a collaboration between the city's shelter, Dallas Animal Services, working with animal nonprofits and charitable groups.

It will provide spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and registration for animals for free, in three ZIP codes with the highest need: 75211, 75217, and 75227. These three ZIP codes were found to have the largest number of animal-related 311 calls and the fewest surgeries per household.

In addition to spay and neutering, the program will do outreach to owners of large dogs, puppies, and kittens as well as caretakers of free-roaming cats.

Big Fix for Big D first launched in April 2012. It provided more than 28,000 spay and neuter surgeries in Dallas — contributing to a significant decrease in euthanasia and a notable increase in more pets finding homes. The goal is to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs caused by unchecked breeding.

Susan Gregory Wolchansky, vice president of Dallas Companion Animal Project, calls the program "a critical component to  changing the status quo."

The program ended in spring 2015, when its funding ran out. This renewal is funded via The Companion Animal Funders Coalition, an umbrella group that includes The Dallas Foundation, the George & Fay Young Foundation, John R. McCune Charitable Trust, The Meadows Foundation, and The Rees-Jones Foundation. They're funding the project in 2016, with the city providing in-kind support.

As a part of the kick-off, the first 250 pets to be spayed or neutered will receive pet beds provided by Dickies and the SPCA of Texas.

The program begins in January 2016, but city spokeswoman Diana Rowden says that residents can start scheduling surgery right away. Procedures are done at multiple locations; pet owners can select whichever provider is most convenient.

This renewal runs for one year, but Rowden​ says that there are more long-range plans on the way.

"We wanted to get a program up and active while we continue to do a longer strategic plan for these services," she says.