News & Events
SNAPtales, the newsletter of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Prog
In This Issue
December 1, 2013
- 48,215 -
The number of dogs
and cats helped by
your gifts between
Jan. 1 and Oct. 31,

SNAP has sterilized over

dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993.
Be a Hero for Animals
Make #GivingTuesday a Day to Focus on What Really Matters

Save the date for Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
Tonka gets to keep his new home thanks to heroes like you!
This is Tonka, a lucky cat who gets to keep his new home--and who won't be contributing to future animal overpopulation--thanks to heroes like you. Please donate on #GivingTuesday so that one day every animal can find a loving home.

On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, SNAP is joining a call to action that will change the calendar and help make history. We are celebrating a day dedicated to giving--when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers, and more will all come together for #GivingTuesday--a movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better, and smarter giving during the holiday season.

Why is giving important, and why does SNAP in particular need your support? The story of Tonka reveals how our donors have changed—and saved—lives in the past:

One evening Esmeralda and her son heard a faint cry coming from their front door. When they opened the door, they were surprised to find a tiny male kitten. He was barely six weeks old and had made their welcome mat his bed for the night. Esmeralda, never having had any pets of her own, did not know what she should do. Her eight-year-old son, on the other hand, did. He grabbed the kitten, wrapped him in a towel, and brought him inside. It wasn't long before the kitten, who came to be called Tonka, was one of the family.

Being a single mom, Esmeralda feared the cost of keeping Tonka and essentially having another mouth to feed. When her son said that he learned in science class that cats and dogs needed to be sterilized and vaccinated, Esmeralda thought that the costs of keeping Tonka were going to be more than she could bear. She decided they might have to give the kitten up. She hated the idea because she was well aware of the love and joy that Tonka had brought into their lives. She also hated the idea that the once homeless kitten might face losing his first real home.

A church friend of Esmeralda's, by chance, had previously used the SNAP mobile clinic and told Esmeralda how SNAP might be able to assist her family. When she looked into SNAP, Esmeralda discovered that she would qualify to get free spay-neuter surgery and a rabies vaccination for Tonka. She said she realized then that there was a reason Tonka came into her and her son’s lives. As Esmeralda put it, “God works in mysterious ways."

Were it not for those of you who support SNAP, Esmeralda and her son would not be able to keep and care for Tonka. Not only did you help save this kitten from homelessness, you also prevented him from fathering other kittens that might end up homeless as well. How is this related to the #GivingTuesday movement?

#GivingTuesday will create a day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season. Just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent the opening days for holiday shopping, #GivingTuesday will become the opening day for holiday giving. That means it is your chance to become a hero by contributing to help animals like Tonka. Just as importantly, #GivingTuesday and the days leading up to it will provide a platform for you to share the importance of charitable giving with your friends and family. See the #GivingTuesday page on our website for ideas on how you can help. Your contribution is made even bigger when you share!

We invite you to be part of this celebration and to help us save more lovable animals like Tonka. We believe that the SNAP vision of no more homeless dogs and cats can be achieved in our lifetime. Remember, #GivingTuesday takes place on December 3, 2013. Your participation can help make this the biggest giving season yet! Together we will show how the world can do much more with our wallets than just consume.


Herding Community Cats in Montrose
LGBT Community Business and Volunteers Team Up to Fix 32 Free Roaming Felines
SNAP staff load Montrose community cats onto the mobile clin
SNAP staff members load some of the 32 cats sterilized in the Montrose area onto the mobile clinic. The Trap-Neuter-Return effort was funded by area businessman Charles Armstrong and executed by a number of volunteers including some of Mr. Armstrong's employees.
Thirty-two community cats were sterilized on the SNAP mobile clinic on Monday, November 18, thanks to the support and efforts of a small army of individuals from the Montrose area.  The Trap-Neuter-Return event was paid for by Mr. Charles Armstrong who owns a number of bars and restaurants in the Montrose area. The clinic was parked in the parking lot of one such business, JR’s Bar & Grill, for the event. The trapping was done by Ms. Boggle, Judy Barnett, John Swed (Mr. Armstrong’s business manager), a number of Mr. Armstrong’s employees, and several other community figures. SNAP Chief of Staff Dr. Carole Price performed the surgeries.

Community cats include feral and other free-roaming cats. Trap-Neuter-Return is the practice of trapping such cats, sterilizing them, and returning them to the area where they were caught. Studies show it to be the single most effective means to limit the number of homeless felines in a given geographic area.
This is not the first time SNAP has collaborated with Mr. Armstrong on helping with the community cat population in Montrose, and it is not the first time he has supported SNAP financially. We are thankful for his continued support of SNAP and our mission.

SNAP plans to continue to serve the Montrose/Neartown community with spay-neuter events open to the general public and to assist with the community cat population.  OutSmart Magazine, which did an article on the SNAP Animal Aid Program in its November issue (see separate story in this issue of SNAPtales), has offered help to spread the word about future events.

Helping Animals That Help Those with HIV/AIDS
SNAP Animal Aid Program Boosted by Renewed AFH Link and Fresh Press
SNAP Director of Administration Gil Lizalde
SNAP Director of Administration and Animal Aid Program Manager Gil Lizalde. Mr. Lizalde was interviewed by OutSmart Magazine for an article about the Animal Aid Program in its November issue.
The SNAP Animal Aid Program (AAP), which helps the animals of those affected by HIV/AIDS, has received a boost from two directions recently. These include a new agreement between SNAP and AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH), and a feature article about the program that was published in the November issue of OutSmart Magazine—a monthly news magazine for the Houston LGBT community.

Under the terms of the new arrangement between AFH and the AAP, AFH will refer its clients to SNAP which, in return, will provide program services to those clients. The AAP provides free spay-neuter surgery, free wellness exams, and wellness services and prodcuts at cost for the animals of low-income persons with HIV/AIDS. AFH will also support and promote SNAP via its website and through its social media and e-mail channels. The organization will allow SNAP to participate in AFH events and provide outreach to its members in the form of speaking events. This agreement rekindles a successful previous collaboration between the two organizations. We are happy to once again be able to work with the wonderful people at AFH and grateful to them for their support of the SNAP mission.

The OutSmart Magazine article included an interview with SNAP AAP Program Manager Gil Lizalde. In it, Lizalde explained why the program is so important: “There have been numerous studies done that have shown that animal companions help people living with illness, whether it be HIV/AIDS or any other kind of chronic illness. It helps them to lead healthier, happier lives.” On a more personal note, Lizalde added, "I know I couldn't live without my animals, so I would hate for somebody else to have to give up theirs." Those who struggle with this disease are faced with high medical bills and are often financially challenged. It is a situation that forces many to make a choice between maintaining their health or keeping their beloved dogs and cats. The AAP enables its clients to provide critical care for their animals at substantially reduced cost. Both the people and the animals thus benefit. The services and the program were summed up by a recent AAP client in a note which said, “Thank you so much for everything…You guys are a godsend.”

We at SNAP are excited about the new collaboration between the AAP and AFH, and we look forward to being able to help AAP clients keep their four-legged companions!

A Big Cat Helps the Little Cats
Houston’s Momentum Jaguar Dealership Helps Feral Cats with TNR Project
This kitten was rescued from the feral colony at Momentum Ja
This adorable kitten was rescued from the feral colony living near Momentum Jaguar. It is currently being fostered by a SNAP staff member.
The staff and management of Houston’s Momentum Jaguar recently performed a great kindness for a colony of feral felines that were living near the dealership. Staff member Steve Young had been feeding and looking out for the animals, and he realized that they needed to be sterilized to keep the population from getting out of control. When he brought it up with Momentum eCommerce & Marketing Director Diane Caplan, she knew just where to turn. Caplan, a longtime supporter of SNAP, spoke to General Manager Ben Dugger to suggest having the SNAP clinic spay and neuter the animals (on Momentum’s dime) as part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) effort. He immediately agreed.

Did Dugger do it as a professional courtesy because Momentum sells cars that embody the image of a big powerful cat—or does he just have a soft spot for animals? Either way, it led to SNAP staff member Judy Barnett volunteering her own time to help trap the cats and ferry them to the clinic on Durham Dr. on Tuesday, November 5. The clinic provided spay-neuter surgery and rabies vaccinations for eight animals that day. One additional animal was caught and sterilized some days later. There was also a six-week-old kitten rescued from the colony that is currently being fostered by another SNAP staff member. The rest of the cats were returned to their stomping grounds around the dealership. This will prevent unsterilized animals from surrounding areas from expanding into the territory while it keeps the colony in question from producing any more offspring.

SNAP is grateful to Momentum Jaguar, Diane Caplan, Ben Dugger, Steve Young, and our own Judy Barnett for helping us improve the lives of these cats while reducing the number of homeless kitties that will be born in the future.

Rockets SNAP Nights Hit Halftime
One Game Down, One Game to Go in Series that Benefits Spay-Neuter
Join the Rockets for two games benefiting the animals!
The Houston Rockets NBA basketball team held a SNAP night at its game on Saturday, November 23, 2013, with a percentage of ticket sales going to support the agency’s spay-neuter programs. Did you miss it? Well you will get a second chance when the Rockets do it again on Friday, December 6, 2013! It’s a fun way to help fund the spay-neuter programs that help reduce the number of homeless animals in our communities while supporting the Rockets.

The first game was against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Rockets won that game by a score of 112 to 101. The next game pits them against the Golden State Warriors. Come cheer them on and be sure to use the promo code snap so your ticket purchase will help our furry friends! The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will take place at the Toyota Center located at 1510 Polk Street Houston, Texas 77002.

SNAP is deeply grateful to the Houston Rockets for benefiting spay-neuter through these events and for the team’s long history of support for the SNAP mission. Buy your tickets early and be sure to wear a SNAP shirt to show your solidarity with the animals. We hope to see you there!
San Antonio Pit Bulls Fixed for Free
San Antonio ACS Funded Program Open to All Residents of the City of San Antonio
San Antonio residents can get their pit bulls fixed for free
Residents of the city of San Antonio can get their pit bulls fixed for free at the SNAP clinic thanks to a new program funded by Animal Care Services (ACS).
The city of San Antonio, through Animal Control Services(ACS), is allowing free spay-neuter surgeries for all pit bulls (including mixed breeds) for residents living within the San Antonio city limits. The program, which has already started, provides surgery but not a rabies vaccination. Animals that are presented for surgery are required by state law to receive a rabies vaccination unless you present a current rabies certificate (which provides proof of a current vaccination) on the day of surgery. You must present proof that you live within the San Antonio city limits to qualify, but no other qualification is necessary other than that the dog be a pit bull or pit bull mix. Note that establishing whether a particular mixed-breed dog possesses the DNA of a specific breed can be difficult at best. SNAP reserves the right to rely on the determination of its own veterinary staff in instances where a dog’s breed is in question.

This new ACS program adds to the success of its free zip code program for community (stray, feral, and other free-roaming cats). SNAP is also a participant in this program. If you are interested in that program, note that only feral cats that are brought to the clinic in a trap, from the ACS zip code areas, will be provided with free services. The services for the cat program include free spay-neuter surgery and a free rabies vaccination. Please see the clinic webpage for additional information.
Barkbox Rocks Spay-Neuter
Monthly Dog Treats and Toys Delivered to Your Door Help Animals in Need
Enter the SNAP promo code SNAPBBX1 for 5% off!
Have you heard of BarkBox? Signing up gets you a monthly box in the mail with four or more products and presents for your dog. It can include anything from toys, bones, and all-natural treats to hygiene products and innovative new gadgets. And now, when you sign up using the SNAP promo code, BarkBox will also make a $20 donation in support of SNAP programs that help animals in need. Signing up involves visiting the BarkBox website, telling them what size dog you have, choosing a plan, and plugging in the promo code. Oh, and that SNAP promo code will also get you $5 off your initial subscription cost. Subscriptions start at $19/month.

Once you’ve signed up, you and your pup(s) will receive that eagerly anticipated shipment each month. It couldn’t be easier or more fun! The shipments will continue until you tell BarkBox to stop.

The SNAP promo code is SNAPBBX1. Be sure to plug it in when you place your order. You will feel even better about the goodies coming your way when you know you’ve helped out animals less fortunate by getting them!
LAVO Collections Keeps on Giving
LAVO for a Cause Giving Launched in November, Supports SNAP through January
Shop LAVO for a cause! Kickoff, Sunday, Nov 17, 2013!
Women’s apparel and accessory retailer LAVO Collections, launched #LAVO for a Cause during a festive kickoff event at its Vintage Park store in November, but don’t think that’s the end of the story. This fundraiser continues for three months! It benefits three nonprofit agencies: SNAP, the Pink Door, and Girls Inc. For each in-store purchase of $50.00 or more, LAVO will donate ten percent of the total to one of the three charities. You, the buyer, gets to choose which of the charities will receive the donation generated by your purchase.

Note that all five Houston-area LAVO Collections stores are participating in the fundraiser. Donations will be totaled and checks distributed to each of the charities at the end of the program. Shop LAVO Collections through the end of the year to help make it a happier holiday season for the animals! SNAP is grateful to LAVO Collections for its support through this generous and creative fundraising effort.
Upcoming SNAP Events
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - Everywhere
  Giving Tuesday
Join the movement to make the Tuesday after Black Friday a celebration of giving!
Friday, December 6, 2013 - Houston, TX
  Houston Rockets SNAP Night
Use the promo code snap to buy tickets to see the Rockets play Golden State and help animals.
March 24-30, 2014 – San Antonio, TX
  Birdies for Charities
Sign up online or via a pledge form to donate for each birdie during the Texas Valero Open.

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner

Hello Darlings!

What are we to do when products we have long trusted to protect our animals' health are reported to be responsible for deaths? See this month’s letter from Howie, a hound-mix from the Houston Heights, to see what not to do.

Dear Hedda,

Have you seen any of the stories going around about animals having reactions to their heartworm preventative? My human friend Carlotta saw a news story about it on the Internet and immediately took me off of it. She said it wasn’t worth risking my life over a disease I might not get anyway. I know that heartworms are carried by mosquitoes, and I worry about getting bitten and becoming infected, but I have heard that the disease can be treated. I guess skipping the preventative altogether is better than dying from a product that’s supposed to protect me from it in the first place, huh?

Sign me,
Better Bitten than Buried

Dear Better,

Have you ever heard of Paul Harvey? He used to do a radio show back in olden days, and he would always introduce a story with something that sounded a lot like your email. He would then go on to say, “…but wait until you hear the rest of the story.” Here is the “rest of the story” about the recent news reports.

The recent news stories involve three people who assert that a heartworm prevention caused the deaths of their dogs.  The attending veterinarians in each case said that the deaths are unrelated to the use of heartworm prevention. Nonetheless, a necropsy (which is similar to a human autopsy) was performed on each of the animals to establish the cause. All three of them were found to have been suffering from serious chronic diseases of the heart. These included myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining and valves of the heart), and “extensive” lipomatous infiltrates (fat deposits) in the heart.  An independent pathologist reviewed the three necropsy reports and rendered an opinion stating that the cause of death in two of the cases was heart disease and that heartworm prevention played no part in the animals’ deaths. Information for the third case was somewhat limited, but in this case the pathologist ruled that myocarditis was the likely cause of death and the presence of the disease reduced the likelihood that heartworm prevention played any role.

The company that produces the heartworm prevention points out that it’s testing and analysis has never found any link between the drug and heart disease. They have also stated that it was thoroughly tested for efficacy and safety prior to approval by the FDA and has further proven its safety in millions of dogs and not a single death has ever been attributed to it.

So, is it wise for Carlotta to take you off of heartworm prevention? Consider this for a moment: No evidence supports the theory that this medication has ever caused a single death. Compare this to how many dogs get heartworms. According to the American Heartworm Society, “The highest infection rates (up to 45%) in dogs (not maintained on heartworm preventive) are observed within 150 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries.” Note that while these are the areas where infection rates are the worst, cases of the disease have been found in all 50 U.S. states. The American Heartworm Society also notes that the chances of a dog becoming infected if bitten by an infected mosquito are “virtually 100 percent.” It is true that the disease can be successfully treated—in most cases—but only if is detected early enough. The treatment is not a simple shot or pill either. It takes many months and the animal must be prevented from engaging in vigorous activity for most of the period of treatment.

If you are wondering why heartworms are called heartworms, it is because they are literally worms that attack and destroy an animal’s heart. They enter the body as microscopic larvae, but within a few months grow to be quite large. Left untreated, they can be devastating to the canine (or feline) cardiovascular system. You can listen to a few unsubstantiated stories in the news if you like, but if you take your dog off of heartworm preventative as a result, you are playing Russian roulette with the animal’s health. Tell ‘em Hedda said so.

New SNAP Grants
A Monthly Review of New SNAP Grants


SNAP would like to express its appreciation to the following foundations, charitable trusts, and corporations for their recent grant awards to SNAP:
  Florence S. Ducey Charitable Trust, $7,000
  Jack and Doris Smothers and Bud Smothers Memorial Foundation, $5,000
  Best Friends Animal Society, $
  Wharton County Stray Pet Outreach Team, $1,500
  Castroville NIP & Tuck, $4,600

An Amazing and Generous Memorial
San Antonio Donor Delivers Cornucopia of Wish List Items in Memory of Late Friend
Angela St. John with her amazing wish list donation.
Angela St. John with her generous and amazing wish list donation. Mr. St. John made the gift in memory of her friend Christa Montouri, who passed away in 2012.
Imagine our amazement and gratitude when SNAP supporter Angela St. John walked through the doors of the San Antonio clinic in mid-November with a donation of dozens of wish list items. Ms. St. John made the donation in memory of her dear friend, Christa Montouri, who passed away on November 12, 2012. The items included everything from bleach and laundry detergent to blankets and batteries.

SNAP accepts donations in many forms, including items needed for day-to-day operations. Such donations free up monetary gifts to be used for other expenses associated with providing free and reduced-cost spay-neuter. Needed items can be found on our wish list on the SNAP website. We also maintain a wish list on, which provides you the convenience of having the purchases delivered directly to a SNAP location. SNAP clinic and administration addresses can be found on the Contact page of our website.

We are immensely grateful to Ms. St. John for her caring and thoughtful donation. The fact that it will help prevent the needless suffering and death of many animals make it a fine and fitting remembrance to the late Ms. Montouri.
Madame AstroCat[object Object]
Dear Readers,

A friend of Madame Astrocat’s recently adopted a kitten that had been rescued from a community cat colony and was at loose ends over how to care for the furry little ball of dynamite. So, how does one begin with a rescued kitten? You give him or her a home for starters, but if you’ve never had a cat before, there’s a lot to know. You are in luck, though, because this month Madame Astrocat shares the top ten things you need to know about taking in a rescue:

10. Search – First, make sure that cat doesn’t already belong to someone else. It might be someone’s outdoor cat who just wandered away from home. Look for flyers in the neighborhood where you found her and at nearby pet stores. Post some of your own in the same locations. Be sure to check some of the many lost/found pet sites on the Internet as well. Until you’ve made a concerted effort over several weeks, you can’t be sure you aren’t breaking someone else’s heart by taking this cat as your own.

9. Inspect – Give kitty a good once (or twice) over for signs of injury or illness. Free roaming cats (which includes strays and ferals) may and likely do suffer anything from tapeworms to feline leukemia. A cat who seems weak and lethargic may simply be malnourished, but it is important to evaluate his overall health and make sure he doesn’t need to be seen by a veterinarian. Most conditions can be treated successfully, so don’t rule out adopting the animal just because he needs a little TLC.

8. Feed – If the cat is an adult, feeding is simple. Feed her high quality food two to three times a day and provide her with plenty of fresh water. If you are dealing with a kitten, feeding depends on the animal’s age. If the little monster has not yet sprouted teeth, you will need to obtain milk made for kittens from a veterinary clinic. (Some retail pet stores sell it too.) You may think cow’s milk will work fine. It will not. It does not have the nutrients a kitten needs. Most adult cats have trouble digesting it, so don’t give it to any cat!

7. Shelter – You might think that bringing a cat into your home qualifies as shelter, and it does in a basic sense. The new member of your household is liable to be a bit intimidated by the new environment though, especially if you already have other animals in the house. Provide your new friend with a place to hide away from the world when the stress gets to be too much. She will often give you hints to likely hidey places by searching them out herself. If she picks a place that isn’t safe, take steps to prevent future access and provide alternatives.

6. De-flea – Any animal wandering outdoors that has not been treated with flea preventative is likely to have fleas. You will want to deal with them as soon as possible. Not only can they cause pain and irritation for the
cat; they can end up biting you and other members of your family.

5. De-worm – Fleas transmit tapeworms, so cats with fleas often have tapeworms as well. A number of other worms and parasites prey on animals that wander outdoors, so be sure to take your cat in to be examined and, if necessary, de-wormed. 

4. Litter Train – No, this is not some bizarre form of transportation; it is a reference to the (obvious) need to train your new cat to use a litter box. If you are lucky, he will already be familiar with the concept. If not, training him is often as simple as providing a box with litter and putting him in it every time he moves to void his bladder or bowels. He will quickly figure out what you are suggesting, and cats generally prefer to do such things in soft earth anyway.

3. Test and Protect – Heartworms are a particular type of worm that affects both dogs and cats. They are listed separately here because they are often fatal and require special attention. Mosquitoes carry them, and a single bite can transmit them. It is therefore important to have your cat tested for them. If she turns out to be heartworm positive (i.e., to have heartworms), treatment is available. The odds of successful treatment depend in large part on how soon the infection is discovered, so have the animal tested as soon as possible.

2. Vaccinate – Many diseases threaten your kitty. Rabies, feline leukemia, and feline distemper all endanger outdoor cats. You should protect your new kitty by having him vaccinated – especially against rabies since the law requires it. It is also smart to make sure that the other animals in your house are up to date on their vaccinations just in case the new animal is already infected. SNAP clinics can provide you with a schedule to tell you what vaccinations are needed and when. How convenient!

1. Spay-Neuter – If there is a no-brainer on the list, it has to be having the critter spayed or neutered—preferably when she or he is about four-five months of age. It is possible this creature came to you after being abandoned by someone who had too many cats and foolishly thought that he would be fine in the wild. You have already become part of the solution to animal overpopulation by taking him in. Now take that critical last step and prevent him from producing more unwanted animals.

SNAP clinics are ready and able to provide most of the services mentioned in this list. An appointment is required for spay-neuter surgery (unless you qualify for the free SNAP mobile clinic program). The mobile clinics also provide a rabies vaccination for animals when they are being spayed or neutered. Full wellness services are available for all animals at SNAP stationary clinics. No appointment is necessary for wellness services, but be sure to see the clinic websites for wellness hours.

Quote of the Month
"Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them whenever they require it." ~ St. Francis of Assisi
No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill
Copyright 1999-2013, Spay-Neuter Assistance Program except as noted. All rights reserved. Right to copy is granted subject to the condition that this copyright notice and the name, address, phone number, and website address (URL) of Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, Inc. appear, and that material copied is not resold.


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