With the help of grant funding, McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center started a program on July 1 to help one of the dog world's most demonized breeds.
With a $55,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, McKamey has committed to spaying or neutering 1,000 pit bulls and pit bull mixes by providing free alteration coupons to owners.
Pit bulls accounted for a disproportionately large percentage (about 40 percent) of the 3,900 dogs the center received in 2010, in large part due to the breed's reputation for aggression.
"No one wants to see this many animals coming into shelters," said McKamey executive director Karen Walsh.
The Bully Blockade is a cooperative endeavor with Wally's Friends and local veterinarians. Walsh said she hopes the blockade will work as well as McKamey's feral cat program, which last year altered about 1,500 cats, resulting in an almost unprecedented, six-week period when no kittens were brought in.
By providing free surgeries, at least one obstacle to taking preventative action is removed, Walsh said.
"Now, there are no excuses. If you can't pay for it, no problem; we'll pay for it for you," she said.
Owners interested in having a pit bull altered should call McKamey at 305-6508. The coupons are only applicable to dogs that have received rabies vaccinations, which are also available at the time of surgery. Owners who bring in an animal to be altered will also receive a free one-year city license.
Participating hospitals providing alteration surgeries will be posted on McKamey's website, www.mckameyanimalcenter.org.