Recognizing the need for a spay/neuter program in our community, a small group of citizens began offering certificates for $20 off the cost of spay and neuter procedures at local veterinary clinics. All of the funding for this program came from the pockets of the people who started the program as well as from fundraising events. In 2020, our certificates have been raised to $50 reflecting the increase in cost of spay/neuter surgeries at the local veterinarians.

In 2004, Butte Spay/Neuter Task Force additionally started hosting large, no cost/low cost spay/neuter clinics to help low- to moderate-income households with altering of their companion animals. These clinics are held in a community building, supplies and medical equipment are brought in along with veterinarians and vet techs.

Our purpose is to make spaying and neutering companion animals affordable for everyone: low to moderate income households, those who take care of feral colonies or ranch animals, the elderly, those on a fixed income, or those who have made unwise life choices for which their animals suffer. We are non-judgmental, keeping our eye on the target of helping the animals, and in addition, our community.

Our participating veterinarians will also do pediatric, or early age spay/neuter, altering pets at a much earlier age than the six to nine month range. With today's anesthetics, advanced monitoring equipment and surgical techniques, not only are these procedures safe in young animals, the risk of complications is lower and the recovery period is shorter than in mature animals. This procedure assures that entire litters and their parents can be fixed at one time, and "accidental" pregnancies are prevented.

Our successes are clear! There has been a significant reduction in the number of animals impounded or admitted to the local shelter; most animals admitted to the shelter are already spayed or neutered; the number of reported dog bites and free animal ads in the paper, once abundant, are nearly a thing of the past.

We are located on the Continental Divide. Our watersheds run to the mighty Columbia and Mississippi Rivers that feed the Pacific and the Atlantic. Butte Spay Neuter Task Force serves a six-county region in southwest Montana that is larger than nine of the fifty states in the U.S. The size of our region is roughly the size of Maryland, yet our sparse population is less than 63,000 human souls. (Three of the counties in our area support 3 people per square mile - or fewer)!

Silver Bow and Deer Lodge Counties are anomalous in our region in that they are "urban" and have an industrial history associated with underground hardrock mining. When the mining industry collapsed in the 1980's, the most skilled workers migrated away, leaving behind the poorest and most marginal members of the community. On the other hand, Beaverhead, Granite, Powell, and southern Jefferson Counties are rural counties where most people make their living as ranchers. Income for this demographic has declined over the past year. In addition, many ranches have a high number of dogs and cats that do not receive adequate or preventative care. Both these demographics place a high burden on our animal welfare systems. Our region is poor, even by Montana standards, which is near the bottom of the list nationwide. At 18.6%, the population of people living in poverty is more than 4 points higher than the national average. Compare our median family income ($36,266) to the national median income ($50,221).

We take pride in the excellent progress we have made over the last decade. But with a sparse and poor population combined with economic decline, we are hard pressed to secure the resources we need to achieve our ultimate goal of adequate care for every cat and dog in our region. Your support makes all the difference to us.

P.O. Box 544, Butte, MT 59703 • 406-782-5110 • •
Butte Spay/Neuter Task Force is associated with Heart Of The Divide Humane Society,
a 501(c)3 non-profit organization