ODESSA, Texas (ABC Big 2/FOX 24) – It’s a big problem. A lot of cats and dogs need a forever home. Now one local organization is helping reduce the number of stray animals here in the Basin.
Fix West Texas has always aimed to prevent over populations in local shelters by spaying and neutering. As it treats countless numbers of animals everyday it says it’s also saving lives.
“West Texas has a huge over population of dogs and cats,” said Lori Vanhoozer, Executive Director of Fix West Texas.
In order to fix that problem, Fix West Texas has taken many dogs and cats for spay neuter surgeries. Vanhoozer said it’s efforts to control stray animal populations will help.
“We spayed and neutered about 3,500 animals last year,” Vanhoozer said. “We are hoping to see a decrease this year especially within the kitten spring season , which is upcoming.”
The number of cats and dogs that are taken to get fixed changes every day, and there are plenty of people at Fix West Texas to help the animals out.
“We have one full time paid vet tech then we have some part time vet tech help, we also rely on volunteers to take care of the animals, who keep them warm who keep them comfortable, who keep them company,” Vanhoozer said.
A high stray animal population leads to overcrowding at local animal shelters. Adam Borrego, Head Surgical Tech at Fix West Texas, use to work at a local animal shelter and saw some difficult decisions being made.
“All the animals that were coming to the shelter, they had so long to get a home and if not there would be two things, pretty much euthanasia so that was one big thing there,” Borrego said.
While the staff including Borrego came to Fix West Texas to prevent euthanizations, President Karen Patterson said seeing so many stray animals stuck in shelters is heartbreaking.
“I don’t know if it’s worse to see or to know that they lose their lives of to see them left in kennels,” Patterson said. ” Both are equally devastating I feel that all pets need a human and every pet deserves to be loved.”
Fix West Texas is teaming up with local animal shelters like Odessa Animal Control to get as many animals fixed. Colton Barrington, Adoption Coordinator, said he sees hundreds of stray animals coming in every month.
Barrington tries to make sure they find home, he believes organizations like Fix West Texas make his job at the shelter a little easier.
“It’s really significant in helping us like we were talking about it helps decrease the numbers of strays,” Barrington said. “If you take dozens of dogs to get fixed, that’s just a bunch of litters of puppies that are not going to be raised on the streets and brought in as strays.”
While Fix West Texas’s main mission is to lower animal intakes at local shelters, it also want’s to give people the chance to get their pets fixed, even if they can’t afford it from a traditional vet.
“The number one thing we do is low cost spay and neuter, we also do low cost vaccinations and we also do something on the side like dog shelters for outside if you can’t bring your dog in and a few things like that,” Patterson said.
While providing low cost surgeries is helping control the animal population and lower euthanasia rates, it’s also up to the community to help.
“We hope that just more people spay and neuter their animals,” Barrington said. ” We hope that people can contain them and prevent the from being out in I guess the wild you can call it, out in the neighborhoods and stuff.”
But even though there is still a lot of work to be done, Fix West Texas said it will still be here to help.
“We are just identifying problems,” Patterson said. “We don’t care who started the problem, who created the problem we just want to be able to help fix the problem.”