Bullet, the dog, is the 10,000th spay neuter

Published 1:55 pm Thursday, July 22, 2010

After four years of hard work the Pearl River County SPCA has been able to spay or neuter 10,000 pets.

The effort involved providing low cost spay and neuter services to county residents. Wednesday morning a number of people dropped their pets off at a local retailer to be spayed or neutered. Those pet owners were asked to stay and find out which pet would mark the county SPCA’s milestone.

In 2006 the local SPCA began offering a low cost spay and neuter program to people who had feral cat populations. That program later expanded to cover all cats and dogs.

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On Wednesday, one dog was crowned as the 10,000th pet to be spayed or neutered. Her name is Bullet and she was recently rescued by her new family. Her new owners, Debra Bellamy and her son Harold Bunch, said Bullet got her name from an injury she suffered shortly before she was found by Bunch.

Bunch said he found Bullet one day while hanging out at a friend’s house. He said he noticed the dog had a wound of some sort, but thought she had been bitten. When he left his friend’s house, the dog did something that stuck with him.

“She wouldn’t stop staring at me when I left,” Bunch said.

After Bunch went home and shared the story of the wounded dog with his mother, Bellamy told him to bring the dog home. Bellamy said she cares for a number of rescued animals.

Upon closer inspection of the dog, Bunch and Bellamy discovered the wound was actually from a gunshot, and the bullet was still lodged in her nasal cavity. Having little money for a vet, they decided to remove the bullet themselves using dental instruments. With the bullet removed and her wound  healed only a small scar is visible where Bullet was shot.

Bellamy and Bunch said they have no idea who shot Bullet before they found her.

While Bullet has been lucky to find a good home, she still suffers some side effects of the bullet wound. Bellamy said Bullet’s nose usually has a discharge on the side where she was shot, and she has asked the veterinarian to look at it while she was getting spayed Wednesday.

For being the 10,000th animal in the county to be spayed or neutered under the low cost program, Bellamy and Bunch were given two bags of dog food, flowers and gift certificates to a number of local businesses.

Pearl River County SPCA Treasurer Betty Cashion said the SPCA now spays and neuters all pets offered for adoption at the shelter on Palestine Road. This practice began after several other attempts to have animals spayed and neutered failed.

Those attempts by the SPCA to have pet adopters get their pets spayed or neutered included having the pet owner sign an agreement, swear on the Bible and even provide a $75 deposit. Cashion said none of those efforts seemed to work. So several years ago the SPCA implemented a rule that no pet would leave the shelter without being spayed or neutered.

The results of that practice are starting to be seen in the declining numbers of animals being surrendered to the shelter. Cashion said in 2007 5,800 animals were brought to the shelter, but  by 2009 that number has decreased to 5,350, a difference of 450 pets. Shelter staff and volunteers are still working to bring down the euthanasia rate, but adoptions have been steady.

Anyone interested in taking advantage of the low cost spay and neuter program can purchase a coupon by calling the Pearl River County SPCA at 601-798-8000. Cost is $30 for cats and $45 for dogs. After purchasing the coupon, an appointment date will be set.