By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Last year the Wood County Commissioners were asked to support “The Big Fix” program which provides low cost spaying and neutering of dogs. The commissioners were reluctant, since they had doubts that Wood County residents would drive to northern Toledo to have their dogs fixed.
But it appears the $10 coupon inserted with dog license certificates was enough to convince 248 dog owners from Wood County to drive their pets to the Humane Ohio location to be spayed and neutered.
So last month, Steve Serchuk, a volunteer with Humane Ohio, was back in front of the commissioners asking again for their support of “The Big Fix.”
“People took advantage of it. They outsold their goal,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said.
“It’s been very successful,” Serchuk said. “If the price is low enough, people will do it.”
Since the commissioners turned down the request last year, Serchuk himself funded the cost of the spaying and neutering at Humane Ohio, at an average cost of $65 per dog. The average cost to have a dog fixed at local veterinarian offices ranges between $115 and $225.
When Wood County dog owners were asked on their license applications if their dogs were fixed, more than 30 percent said they were not.
“That’s a big number,” Serchuk said.
Spayed and neutered dogs are less aggressive and less likely to roam – meaning the county could save money in the long run by having to euthanize fewer dogs, he said.
But in many cases, people can’t afford the costs.
“We demonstrated people in the county would like to do this,” Serchuk said. “If the cost is low enough, people will do the right thing and spay and neuter their dogs.”
Despite the distance to the Humane Ohio site on Tremainsville Road, more than half of the Wood County dogs came from areas in Bowling Green and south Wood County.
“We had more from the villages and townships south of Bowling Green,” he said.
So Serchuk tried again to get the county commissioners to put some money into the program for 2018. If the commissioners could put in $7,500, Serchuk said he had a community group that would match that money.
“We’d like your support to do that,” he said. “The residents have demonstrated by supporting it.”
Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said “The Big Fix” was more successful than they believed it would be.
“It certainly did exceed our expectations,” she said.
Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder questioned the public funds being used for the program.
“It was very nice of Steve to fund the initial year,” and nice to have 245 more dogs fixed in the county, Snyder said.
However, he added, “Should we subsidize the cost of spay and neuter with public funds for a small group of people?”
The commissioners made no decision on the funding request.