Shelter director Mia Chandler will remain caged for 24 hours or until she raises her goal of $2,762.25. | File

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In the dog house

Published 12:02pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lake Martin Animal Shelter director to remain caged until she reaches fundraiser goal

Mia Chandler will spend Saturday locked in a dog pen.

The Lake Martin Animal Shelter director will be participating in this unique fundraiser at the Alexander City Walmart to raise money to assist with spay and neutering expenses.

“I will be locked in a dog pen starting at 7 a.m., and I am prepared to stay until I reach my goal or up to 24 hours,” Chandler said. “We set our initial goal at $1 for every animal we took care of last year, but because of tough economic times we know people have had to cut back so we’re being more realistic.”

The goal is now set at $2,762.25, and all money raised will be put toward spaying and neutering pets.

“Every single penny raised goes to the community,” Chandler said. “This does not go to the shelter or shelter expenses. This money is given to individuals in the community.”

Chandler said the money will assist pet owners who want to have their pet spayed or neutered but haven’t been able to afford it.

“People want to do the right thing, but sometimes because of financial reasons they just can’t afford to,” Chandler said. “We want to help those with jobs, who are trying to do the right thing.”

Chandler said spaying and neutering pets is more often than not the right thing to do.

“There are many more reasons to have pets surgically sterilized than to not,” Chandler said. “There are very few reasons not to get a pet fixed, and finances shouldn’t be an excuse this month or next month.”

Chandler said reducing the number of pets that aren’t spayed or neutered will reduce the number of unwanted strays, which can benefit the entire community.

“If we can assist people in getting their dogs fixed, we lower the shelter intake and we lower euthanasia rates,” Chandler said. “Nobody likes euthanasia, but the reality is we have far more pets than we have responsible pet owners for.”

Chandler urges those who need financial assistance in having their pets spayed or neutered to come forward.

“I want people to put their pride aside and come have conversation with me,” Chandler said. “I also want to encourage people to nominate a pet owner who they know needs assistance and won’t put their pride aside. The bottom line is it’s not about us. It’s about the animals. We need to get as many animals fixed as possible.”

The shelter operates a free transport program with Alabama Spay and Neuter, a clinic which offers lower cost sterilization for pets, every third Monday of the month. The fee for spay and neutering is $45 for male cats, $65 for male dogs, $80 for female dogs and $25 during the month of February for female cats.

Chandler said she also has a personal reason to want to meet the $2,762.25 fundraising goal quickly, as she would like to be out of the cage by 5 p.m. so she can attend a dance with her 8-year-old daughter.

“I would love to spend the evening with my daughter,” Chandler said. “I knew when I took this job that this was a relationship – not a 9 to 5 job. I’m committed to meeting goal and don’t mind making the sacrifice, but at the same I’d love to meet goal and be there by my daughter’s side.”

For more information on the Lake Martin Humane Society, visit their website at lakemartinanimalshelter.