Several veterinary clinics work with the local organization to provide low-cost spay and neuter procedures.
BOARDMAN -- Tuesday is the eighth annual Spay Day USA, a national event that reminds communities to help control the pet population by having their pets spayed or neutered.
Community Helping Animals in Need, a local nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making Spay Day a success in the Mahoning Valley.
"Spay Day is a wonderful awareness day because some of these animals are born to die," said Sheryl Goodrich of Boardman, president and founder of CHAIN.
The national Spay Day program, started in 1995, is spearheaded by the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
CHAIN works with local veterinarians in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties to provide reduced rates for low-income pet owners for spaying and neutering procedures. CHAIN raises funds through garage sales, auctions and private donations, Goodrich added.
Clinics that help: These veterinary clinics also have contributed to the CHAIN program: South Mill Pet Care Center, Boardman; Ebert Animal Hospital, Youngstown; Fritsch Veterinary Clinic, Warren; and Champion Animal Hospital, Warren.
In the eight years Spay Day has been in existence, an estimated 625,000 animals either have been spayed or neutered.
Preventive measure: "It's very important to spay animals before their first heat," said Dr. Lisa Kurtz, a physician at Animal Charity, Youngstown. "[Spaying] can reduce 98 percent of getting mammary cancer if it's done by then."
Not only does spaying and neutering reduce the number of cat and dogs born each year, it also prevents various types of reproductive tract disorders.
Neutering can help male dogs and cats fight less, and spaying prevents female animals from going into heat, Dr. Kurtz added.
"This issue needed to be addressed every day, not just one day," Goodrich said, explaining why she started CHAIN.
Founded in 1995, CHAIN has been involved with the spaying or neutering of thousands of cats and dogs.
Last year, 949 dogs and cats were either spayed or neutered through the organization's efforts, she said.
Also involved: Angels for Animals, a nonprofit organization in Beaver Township, will focus on spaying and neutering stray cats and dogs this week in observation of Spay Day USA.
Polly Wardle, the group's spay-neuter coordinator, said although Angels offers great programs year-round, for this week it also is reviving its Spay-A-Stray program from last spring.
She urges anyone feeding stray cats or dogs to contact the group about getting those animals spayed or neutered for a donation.
For information on Angels' dog program, call (330) 549-1111. For cats, call (330) 533-9100.