The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare’s recent campaign is leaving some residents and business owners doggone surprised.
The SPCA is conducting its “Pup-ulation Explosion” campaign during February, which is also National Spay and Neuter Month. Residents may have noticed some silly cartoon dogs popping up all over the county.
This fundraiser is similar to the pink flamingos gag in which the quirky lawn ornaments will appear in someone’s yard overnight and they can pay a fee to make them go away. Once the pups appear in someone’s yard, they can make a donation to the SPCA and they disappear.
The vinyl canines started appearing in the yards of SPCA board members at the beginning of the month. The colorful group of dogs include instructions for removal.
For $15, the “unwanted litter” can be picked up by animal control. For $20, the dogs can be adopted out to a friend. For $25, they can adopt the dogs out after sterilization.
After making a donation, the individual can suggest a friend or business for the dogs to move to next.
“It’s been widely supported by the community,” said SPCA Development Director Chrissey Morton Miller. “The response from the community has been priceless.”
In fact, there has even been a call or two made by residents who are requesting that the dogs appear in their yard next.
But for such a whimsical campaign, it has a serious purpose behind it. The funds raised will go toward the SPCA’s low-income spay and neuter program, which offers a discounted price to alter pets and to help purchase a transport vehicle.
The campaign also spreads awareness of the problem caused when pets are not altered – an increasing population of dogs and cats which is leading to more strays and crowded shelters.
Miller said that when someone sees the vinyl dogs, it sparks curiosity and a bit of humor but, in reality, a surprise litter of puppies or kittens are often sent to an animal shelter.
Earlier this month, the dogs made their way to Aiken High School. Linda Strojan, who serves on the SPCA board and is a senior counselor for Aiken High School, said many faculty members supported the cause and made donations.
“It’s a great, fun, very novel way of raising money for spay and neuter,” Strojan said. “I’ve had lots of people ask me about them. It has brought a lot of attention to the spay and neuter cost and how badly we need money for this program.”
Local businesses have had fun with the campaign, too. The dogs splashed into the Aiken Swimming Pool on Whiskey Road earlier this week. The business’ Billy Hines said they were a bit perplexed by the dogs at first but they figured it out and found it pretty comical.
“Our yard had definitely gone to the dogs,” Hines quipped. “It’s a wonderful program and we’re glad we could participate. The element of surprise was great.”
Hines sent the canines to Aiken Discount Tire on Richland Avenue. Within a few minutes of them arriving, customers were already asking Kristie Kinsey, who works the front desk, what the display was and why they were there.
“It’s fun,” she said laughing. “They’re really cute.”
Miller has appreciated the community’s sense of humor and their support.
Miller added that in some neighborhoods that don’t allow signs in the yard, donations have been made by those residents, too, even if they can’t have the dogs make a stop in their lawn.
World Spay Day is Feb. 26, and the nonprofit will hold a Spay-ghetti Dinner at the Marr Education Center located at the SPCA facility at 199 Willow Run Road. Tickets are $8 and $5 for children under 12.
The dinner will offer attendees a chance to tour the non-profit’s new regional spay and neuter clinic.
Anyone who is interested in making a donation, going to the Spay-ghetti Dinner or would like to have their pet altered, call the SPCA at 648-6863 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.