Whatcom Magazine

Nonprofit profile: WeSNIP offers spay, neuter services to low-income pet owners

WeSNIP has provided spay and neuter services to low-income pet owners since 2008. Still, many people feel a tad uncomfortable when they hear the nonprofit’s name.

“Then they smile and they remember who we are and what we offer,” says director Audrey Seaholm.

By any name, WeSNIP has had a noticeable impact over its seven years. WeSNIP has neutered more than 14,000 cats and dogs in Whatcom County. That, in turn, has reduced the number of animals euthanized in the county, by 72 percent for cats and 64 percent for dogs.

“Changing euthanasia rates is truly exciting,” Seaholm says. “To have such a measurable impact is astounding, a real testament to our community.”

WeSNIP has changed the way it provides spay and neuter services several times. At first, they were a mobile operation. Then, in 2011, they moved to a clinic in Bellingham. Two years later, they shifted to surgery transports.

Throughout the changes, WeSNIP has doggedly pursued the same goal of offering high-quality spay and neuter services for pet owners with limited resources. WeSNIP addresses those pet owners’ main barriers of finances and transportation. Education also is a major focus, and WeSNIP has programs to address feral cats.

Fundraising is an ongoing task. The organization has a yearly garage sale, and will hold its first Meows & Mimosas benefit brunch on May 30. WeSNIP also receives donations from its cat- and dog-owning clients.

Currently, three dogs a week are treated at Maplewood Animal Hospital. Also, every Thursday, 30 to 40 cat owners drop off their animals at the Salvation Army parking lot at 2912 Northwest Ave. WeSNIP workers put the cats into a truck and take them to The NOAH Center (Northwest Organization for Animal Help) in Stanwood, where vets, including WeSNIP founder Dr. Karen Mueller, perform the procedures.

When the animals are returned to Bellingham the same afternoon, the nonprofit asks their owners for donations to WeSNIP to “spay it forward.”