Story by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
“My passion is saving animals from neglect and suffering,” shared Diane Ayres, executive director and president of the board for Spay Neuter Idaho Pets, Inc. ( d.b.a. SNIP) in Boise. She founded the nonprofit in 2008 with Pamela Williams, Lois Hailey and Lou Ann Gaskell.
According to Ayres, the organization was founded to meet several objectives:
Providing affordable, quality spay neuters of dogs and cats; reducing the number of animals being euthanized in shelters;
reducing the number of pets subject to neglect and suffering; providing education on the importance of spaying and neutering for the health of animals; effectively and humanely containing the population growth of feral, stray and abandoned cats and encouraging rescue groups and shelters to work together to help animals.
“I had volunteered for several rescue groups, trying to sell my vision of a high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay neuter clinic with no success,” recalled Ayres. “In January of 2008, I asked the executive director of the Idaho Humane Society Auxiliary if I could use their 501 (c) 3 status, and she agreed. What followed was Mady Rothchild, Dr. Jeff Rosenthal and myself starting the SPOT clinic at Idaho Humane Society on April 1, 2008. We fixed 30 feral cats for $10 each, and 5 pit bulls or pit bull mixes for $25 each every Tuesday. It was very successful. When I wanted to expand it, we decided to form SNIP to provide low-cost, affordable spay/neuter surgeries to all, regardless of income.”
Since its inception, SNIP has financially helped spay and neuter more than 15,856 cats and dogs, preventing the birth of over 110,992 puppies and kittens (based on calculations from SpayUSA). SNIP is dedicated to improving the lives of Idaho’s cats and dogs through reducing overpopulation with low-cost spay and neuter programs, education and community partners. In addition, SNIP provides financial assistance for spay/neuter surgeries for income-qualified individuals. SNIP is the only organization in the valley that spays and neuters feral and free-roaming cats in Canyon County and Emmett for free.
Ayres’ own pet family includes two dogs she rescued in Minidoka County: Hamper, a nine-pound, black mixed breed found inside the hamper of an empty hotel room closet, and Scruffy, a 15-pound Cairn terrier dachshund mix “found running the streets.” Ayres has also rescued four cats: Turbo, found at 6 weeks old, dumped in the park across the street from her home; Tarzan, dumped off at the front door of her neighbor’s house in a small box with the note “Tarzan is 2 years old and has a neurological problem, we have 3 dogs, good karma”; Cleo, who wandered into Ayres’ yard and remained there after an extensive search for his home turned up nothing; and Toes, a polydactyl cat that is FIV positive but living a good life with her other cats. Scruffy and Hamper were fixed with SNIP’s everyday, low-cost vouchers. Scruffy’s procedure cost $115, and Hamper’s operation was $80. Low-cost vouchers, regardless of income, are available at the local Petco, Bark ’n’ Purr or online at snipidaho.org.
SNIP to the Rescue
Ayres has seen firsthand how SNIP has impacted local residents. “We were doing an income-qualified voucher event at the Nampa Petco, and a gentleman and his wife requested a female cat voucher. Upon receiving it, he looked at his wife with tears in his eyes, and said ‘Mama our little kitty is never going to have kittens again thanks to SNIP.’ His sincere comment made my day.”
Ayres shared another heartwarming story. “Several years ago around Christmas time, a single mom and her two daughters were living in their cold car with their dog. They were accepted into a shelter, but the shelter would not take the dog in unless it was fixed. SNIP was contacted and fixed their little fella. The four of them ended up spending a warm Christmas together in the shelter.”
SNIP’s next fundraising event is their Third Annual Grape Stomp on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Crooked Fence Brewing Company. A $35 ticket or table of 8 for $250 includes a fun afternoon of endless, hearty harvest appetizers, one free glass of beer or wine, bocci ball and other lawn games, live music, a silent and live auction and a grape-stomping contest. The winner will receive the coveted, hand-carved trophy for a year. The emcee and auctioneer this year will be KTVB Channel 7’s Larry Gebert. Proceeds benefit SNIP’s spay/neuter programs. After September 12, ticket prices increase to $50 per person, or $360 for a table of 8.
“Spay and neuter your pets. They will be healthier and can live longer,” Ayres recommended
Visit their website if you are interested in:
• Serving on the board of SNIP