Saturday morning heralded an unexpected sight at McBryde Oil Company: dozens of cats and dogs lined up to be spayed and neutered, as Loving Texas Pet Assistance of Kerrville held an all-day clinic sponsored by McBryde owners Michael and Kathryn Burniston.
The easiest way to avoid overcrowding at animal shelters – and animal euthanasia due to overcrowding – is to spay and neuter pets, said LTPA founder Tami Baumann, who makes advocating for and providing these procedures her top priority.
Failing to spay and neuter pets can also cause dangerous and sometimes fatal health consequences, such as pyometra and other medical conditions.
Baumann is a lifelong animal advocate and a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department for more than 24 years, splitting her time between L.A. and Texas. She first founded LTPA as a satellite program of Ghetto Rescue, the animal rescue nonprofit she founded in L.A., and her advocacy work was the subject of a 2008 Hallmark movie called “Accidental Friendship.”
Baumann sums up her mission’s organization: “We want to help people keep their pets.” Funded by donations, LTPA partners with animal shelters to identify and help those who feel they may need to relinquish their animals for financial reasons. Instead, LTPA connects these pet owners with food, veterinary services or other items they can’t afford, in exchange for allowing their pet to be spayed and neutered.
“We will help a lower-income person with just about anything, as long as we have the funding,” Baumann said.
She also has a mobile veterinary hospital she takes to rural areas of Texas to provide free spaying and neutering services for pets. (Owners must first qualify financially, but Baumann is happy to help non-qualifying pet owners find lower-cost services as well.)
“There’s nobody in the state of Texas doing what we’re doing,” Baumann said. “There’s free spaying in Austin, but there’s nobody going around to outlying areas.”
But operating the mobile veterinary hospital to perform the surgeries comes at a cost, and it can be steep – about $150 per dog spayed or neutered.
That’s why Michael and Kathryn Burniston of McBryde Oil Company stepped up to sponsor Saturday’s all-day spaying and neutering event.
A passionate animal advocate and resident of Kerrville for 11 years, Kathryn Burniston said that she learned quickly that the biggest problem facing local shelters is overcrowding due to residents not spaying and neutering their pets.
“After being actively involved in rescue groups and volunteering at Kerr County Animal Services for 11 years, we know the biggest impact our community can have on lowering the number of animals entering the shelter is to spay and neuter our pets,” Burniston said.
She added that LTPA is a wonderful rescue group, and that she and her husband felt called to underwrite a day of spaying as many dogs and cats as possible for the good of the community.
“We are so thrilled to be sponsoring this amazing event,” Burniston said. “Back in November we approached LTPA about underwriting a spay and neuter clinic for low-income Kerr County pet owners.”
Ultimately, Burniston hopes that other local business owners will consider sponsoring the next spay and neuter clinic, so the clinics can occur on a regular basis.
“It would save hundreds of dogs and cats from ending up in shelters,” she said.
Baumann added that the financial support of other local businesses would enable her to host more clinics – in fact, she could do it eight days a month if she had the funding.
“We’re not a rescue – we’re primarily assistance,” Baumann said. “We spay and neuter, and help people keep their pets and keep them out of the shelter.”
For more information on Loving Texas Pet Assistance, or for more information on how to sponsor the next spaying and neutering clinic, email LovingTexasPA@gmail.com, leave a message at (830) 201-0606, or follow Loving Texas Pet Assistance on Facebook or @lovingtexaspetassistance on Instagram.