The city of Shawnee and surrounding areas have a serious problem with the overpopulation of animals.

Many members of several rescues within the city alone all agree that one, if not the biggest, way to prevent and manage this issue is spaying and neutering pets.

According to Carol Currie, Feline Director of Forgotten Treasures, one reason many people don't spay and neuter their animals is because of the great expense.

Currie said 36 percent of residents in Shawnee are below the poverty level.

"Many of them struggle to feed themselves and their families, let alone a pet," Currie said.

The rescuer explained Forgotten Treasures is another rescue based out of Shawnee that works with stray and abandoned animals.

"We're a small rescue operated by five people and have managed to adopt out over 900 animals in the last year," Currie said.

The Feline Director explained there are places throughout the city that offer low cost spay and neuter options.

For example, those who apply and qualify can call Best Friends of Pets and utilize their Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).

According to Kim Schlitter, Best Friends of Pets executive director, the organization is accepting applications for vouchers, but due to low funding are only able to accept a small amount until the organization can receive more funding.

Schlitter said Best Friends of Pets is accepting donations and any amount is helpful to the program.

Call (405) 418-8511 for more information.

Sherry Claybrook of Saving Pets at Risk (SPAR) Animal Rescue explained some clinics in the area will accept the vouchers as payment and perform the procedure on the animals.

Claybrook said Angels of Animals Clinic, located at U.S. 177 and Acme Road, are among those that accept the vouchers. For more information call the clinic at (405) 765-3223.

Like Claybrook, many involved with animal rescues insist the best way to neutralize this issue is to prevent cats and dogs from reproducing.

"We have an overwhelming population problem here because people are not spay and neutering their animals and if you don't do that then you're part of the problem," Claybrook said.

In addition to SNAP vouchers and Angels for Animals, there are other clinics throughout the area who offer spay and neuter.

The Northside Vet Hospital, located at 121 W 45th Street, offers half of their normal spay and neuter rate every first and second Wednesday of the month. For more information they can be reached at (405) 273-3700.

The Animal Rescue Center of Shawnee (ARC) and Oklahoma Human Society offer a spay and neuter transport clinic and low cost spay and neuter rates.

According to President of ARC Kay Heinz, every six weeks pet owners getting their animals fixed can call (405) 431-9326 to set up an appointment on one of the transport dates.

Heinz said the animals are then taken by the Oklahoma Humane Society's Puppy Express to their clinic in Oklahoma City.

Once spayed or neutered, on the same day the animals are returned to ARC at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, checked for any anomalies and released to their owners.

Heinz said since 2008, ARC has offered this transport clinic and in that time over 3,000 animals have been altered.

Claybrook explained there are other places throughout the state that offer low cost spay and neutering including Safe Haven in Spencer and Spay Way in Oklahoma City.

While there are many options for low-cast spay and neuter and the rescues do what they can, Currie said the overpopulation issue is one that will take action.

"We try to save lives, but it's still a problem. The opportunity is out there, but somebody has to care enough to address it as a problem," Currie said.