SANTA MARIA, Calif. - It's a situation some low income families with large dogs may be faced with - what to do with your furry friend when you can't afford their veterinary care?
"We accept about a thousand pets at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society and about half of those animals end up here because of either medical expenses or behavior issues," explained Sean Hawkins, Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.
Now a new program called Chrissie's Fund is helping the shelter try to cut down some of those barriers that may cause someone to relinquish their large dog.
"So if you're on a need's based public assistance program, you can come to our facility and your dog can receive free medical care. We'd much rather work with a family to keep a dog in a home than make it easy for someone to give up a pet just because they can't afford a vet bill or they need help with a dog trainer," Hawkins said.
For now, Chrissie's Fund is only available for large dogs who weigh 45 pounds or more.
"Most of the dogs who stay here a really long time are the large dogs, so we'd like to put the resources on the front end to prevent these dogs from ever ending up in the shelter," said Hawkins.
The Chrissie's Fund surgeries are on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you qualify for this type of assistance, all you have to do is make an appointment with the shelter. Click here for more information.