Spay/Neuter Update

This notice is to update our community on the availability of surgical procedures through our organization. At this time, we are experiencing longer than usual wait times for available appointments. This means that your pet may not be able to undergo sterilization surgery for up to several months. We appreciate your patience during this time, and we will continue to provide core Fvrcp & Dhpp vaccines and dewormings while you await spay/neuter surgery.

At the bottom of this message, you will find links to low cost clinics should you choose to pursue having your pet spayed/neutered sooner than we, as a rescue, will be able to facilitate. 

We have spent many hours meeting, discussing, researching, and brainstorming solutions to this ongoing problem. At this time, we have concluded that the veterinary shortage is far reaching and that it will require many, out of The box ideas to piece together what we can until a more permanent solution is found.

While the stress of sending animals out into homes before they are sterilized weighs heavy on us, we know that it is the only way that we can continue our life saving work. Every animal adopted through Starfish will still be required to be spayed/neutered. Whether this will be requirement of the adopter or the organization is decided on a case by case basis.


The Starfish Pet Project Team


For more further details, please continue reading: 

Veterinary Hospitals are experiencing an extreme shortage of doctors and support staff at this time. This problem became dire during the pandemic and has been worsening. There are numerous reasons for the lack of staff, from inadequate pay, high cost of education, to the emotional toll the veterinary field takes on its employees. Whatever the reasoning, this shortage is real and is affecting everyone who cares for animals. 


What this means for rescue groups is that many vets are reserving their appointments for clients and their pets. Many vets do not have the ability to offer appointments to rescue groups. Whereas rescues were able to have multiple animals spayed/neutered on the same day, we are having to get one and two appointments at a time, often booked out months in advance. This puppy/kitten season has put us in the predicament of being unable to schedule rescue animal appointments in a timely manner. Rescues & shelters around the country are struggling to get these necessary and life saving surgeries completed. In addition to being turned away by multiple vets who “aren’t able to work with rescues”, we are getting calls and emails daily begging us to take in more animals who are being euthanized at overcrowded shelters. 


If rescue groups were to pay full price for high volume spay/neuter surgeries, we would quickly go bankrupt or be forced to require adoption fees in the thousand dollar range. We believe that adoption fees should be reasonable and within reach. We also know that requiring substantial adoption fees will result in fewer adoptions, which in turn, will result in Starfish being unable to save more animal lives. 


The animal welfare world has overcome trying times in the past and we are confident that solutions will arise with this as well. We also know that solutions take time to manifest. While much is up in the air right now when it comes to accessible veterinary care, we know that we are not alone in this struggle. Domestic animal care workers all over the country are suffering through this together. What we need most right now is patience and understanding from our adopters. 


Many rescue groups, shelters, and veterinary clinics have been forced to shut down due to this lack of staffing. We do not want that to be the case for us as well. The work we do is so necessary and we would be doing a disservice to the animals and the community if we were to close our doors in the face of hardship. We appreciate your help in keeping us afloat and able to continue our life saving work. Our priority will remain with the animals that we provide for.


At this time, we are re-evaluating our policies around spay/neutering and the way in which we approach getting these surgeries completed. This means that there may be extended waiting periods while we scramble for those elusive appointments. We will be continuing to place animals into adoptive homes on a foster to adopt basis, as this is the healthiest, safest, and best way to save their lives. We will continue to provide basic veterinary care such as core vaccines while you await your animal’s spay/neuter. We will be prioritizing surgeries for families who have adopted opposite sex pairs, such as a male/female pair of kittens, to prevent breeding in these cases. Wait list surgical appointments will be several months long for the time being. We will provide updates as they occur / as more veterinary resources are identified. 

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