Residents' lawns may soon be littered with cats and dogs.

They won't be real critters, but rather cutesy cutouts of the animals. But the Aiken SPCA's Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare wants people to imagine they are real, and what happens to those animals will be up to the lucky recipient. This is part of the Aiken SPCA's Project Spay Aiken, a fundraising effort to raise funds for its spay and neutering program.

According to SPCA Development Director Chrissey Miller, they did the fundraiser last year and it went quite well.

“It wasn't just a monetary success, it was success for awareness,” Miller said.

They raised close to $7,000 from the project as well as received an award from the Humane Society of the United States for innovation.

The fundraiser takes place in February because Feb. 25 is World Spay Day. Whoever ends up with a litter of dogs or cats in their yard has three choices. For a $15 donation, they can choose to have “animal control” pick them up. For a $20 donation, animal control can pick them up and have them placed in a friend's yard. Lastly, they can be sent to a friends yard but have them “spayed or neutered” so they will never return to their own yard for a donation of $25.

A litter of puppies will be accompanied with a sign that reads “Yard of the Mutts” and for kittens, it will read, “Your yard is a cat-astrophe.”

The feedback during last year's fundraiser was pretty positive, said Miller.

“We had a great response last year,” Miller said. “People were very enthusiastic about the project.”

Miller added they will be partnering with Joya DiStefano's Palmetto Animal Welfare Services.

Project Spay Aiken will be held from Saturday to Feb. 25. Anyone who wants to host a litter in their yards or want more information can contact the Aiken SPCA at 803-648-6863.

The Aiken SPCA will also hold its annual Spay-Ghetti Dinner on Feb. 25 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Albrecht Center, located at 199 Willow Run Road. Plates are $7 a piece and will include spaghetti, salad, a roll and a drink. Proceeds will also go toward the spay and neuter program.

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va. and a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.