T.A.R.A. – low-cost neutering and spaying since 2002
Original article from the Sullivan County Democrat
Carol Montana – Reporter/Photographer
MONTICELLO — At 7:15 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning, there were already 18 cats waiting outside The Animal Rights Alliance (T.A.R.A.) Mobile Clinic stationed at the Walmart parking lot.
The cats were awaiting their turn to be spayed or neutered. As the hour set aside for intake stretched on, many more cats and their owners, lined up for the low-cost service.
T.A.R.A. was founded in 1984 by Rose and Steve Tardif, passionate animal lovers who realized that, as their brochure says, “You cannot adopt your way out of this problem.” Rather than raising the number of animals euthanized every year – the Humane Society of the U.S. puts that number at 3 million – the Tardifs decided to offer low-cost spaying and neutering.
Sullivan County resident and Assistant Clinic Manager, Kristen Fischer, explained that T.A.R.A.’s funding comes mostly from grants and public donations. The Tardifs, Fischer said, go to street fairs and sell vintage flea market items while promoting T.A.R.A.’s services in New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Grants, Fischer clarified, come from “anywhere we can find that is looking to fund animal organizations, especially spay and neuter programs.” And animal-oriented businesses like the ASPCA, Marian’s Dream, PetSmart Charities and the Petco Foundation donate as well.
Dogs are spayed and neutered at T.A.R.A.’s stationary, state-of-the-art clinic in Middletown, and cats are taken care of at the mobile clinics, weekly in Newburgh, Monroe and Middletown, and monthly in Monticello and Liberty.
In fact, the first-ever mobile clinic was held in Monticello on March 26, 2002.
Cat spaying or neutering costs $70 and includes not only the sterilization, but also a one-year rabies vaccination, ear cleaning, nail trim and a precautionary penicillin shot. The cost to spay/neuter dogs depends on the weight of the dog and varies from $120 to $225. Additional services at the time of surgery are available for an added cost and include distemper, flu and Lyme vaccines, microchipping, dewormers, heartworm and Lyme tests, and flea treatments.
Additionally, residents of four Sullivan County towns can contact their town clerks for a certificate that will reduce the cost to spay/neuter cats even further: $30 for Bethel and Mamakating residents, and $25 for Thompson and Fallsburg residents. T.A.R.A. is looking to partner with other towns as well.
Also, pit bull and pit bull mix owners who are on public assistance in the Hudson Valley, can take advantage of T.A.R.A.’s even lower cost spay/neuter grant program. Prices – pending proof of residency and participation in a qualified public assistance program – range from $12 – $23.
Like most charities, T.A.R.A., a 501(c)3 corporation, has a wish-list, which currently includes monetary donations, diesel fuel cards, small bath towels, liquid laundry detergent, isopropyl alcohol, Clorox original bleach, gift cards to Walmart and Sam’s Club, and white copy paper. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. One big-ticket item T.A.R.A. is looking to purchase is a digital dental x-ray machine at a cost of $15,500 toward which they have already raised $5,400. They’re looking for an animal-loving angel to donate the rest. There’s a Go Fund Me page toward that end at charity.gofundme.com/tarany.
Consider these theoretical numbers put forth by many animal rights activists: one female cat and her mate having two litters per year, with 2.8 kittens surviving, will result in 11,606,077 cats in just nine years. Now think about the fact that in its 18-year history of providing a low-cost mobile clinic, and since opening its stationary clinic for dogs, T.A.R.A. has spayed and neutered over 130,000 cats and over 12,000 dogs. That is literally millions of dogs and cats that won’t be born, and thousands of dogs and cats living longer and healthier lives.
T.A.R.A. has other programs and additional spay/neuter clinics throughout the Hudson Valley. For more information, or to schedule your pet for a clinic, or inquire how to donate, go to: www.tara-spayneuter.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 845-343-1000.