News & Events
SNAPtales, the newsletter of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Prog
In This Issue
October 1, 2014
- 38,771 -
 The number of dogs
and cats helped by
your gifts between
Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 2014
SNAP has sterilized over
dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993
Do a Little to Help a Lot
Help Win $50,000 for Spay-Neuter by Joining the Saving Pets Challenge

Fundraise for SNAP and help win up to $50,000 for spay-neute
You can help win $50,000 for spay-neuter by joining the Saving Pets Challenge—a crowd sourcing fundraiser created by Michelson Found Animals. The grant-making agency is donating $100,000 to causes that keep dogs and cats out of our shelters and into safe and loving homes.

The Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge seeks to help charities focused on reducing shelter euthanasia in our communities. The goal is the same: to keep animals safe and happy. Every time you help one animal through SNAP, you save many more from being born unwanted. See how you helped save Bingo and Junebug in our new Help One, Save Many video on the SNAP Saving Pets Challenge webpage! (The video is the right-most media element in the media browser that appears just below the top of the page.)

The challenge launches on Monday, September 29th at 12:00 p.m. ET and runs through Thursday, October 30th at 11:59:59 a.m. ET. See the Official Rules for complete details. The award amounts are truly inspiring!

  - The team that raises the most wins $50,000
  - The second place team gets $20,000
  - The third place team gets $10,000

And there will be weekly Bonus Challenges in which charities can win up to $20,000 more. SNAP also gets to keep all of the money you raise during the campaign in addition to any award amount. It’s a no-lose proposition!

Millions of dogs and cats are put to death in shelters each year while countless more are abandoned or lost in our communities. The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program was founded to combat the crisis of homeless cats and dogs by attacking the source of the problem. We provide low-cost and free spay-neuter and wellness services to animals in communities across Texas. It's a big job, and we can't do it alone. Please join the challenge or donate today. For every animal you help, many more are saved.
Major Bequest Saves Community Cats
Rescue Project First of Many Projects to Be Funded by Dinkins Estate

Dinkins bequest enables SNAP to rescue community cats colony
A colony of community cats was recently rescued from imminent extermination by an apartment complex where they lived. Funds for the project came from a recent bequest from the estate of longtime SNAP supporter Jane O. Dinkins.
It is always sad to lose a longtime supporter. SNAP lost one in Ms. Jane O. Dinkins, who passed away recently. Imagine our surprise and deep gratitude, however, when we learned that Ms. Dinkins had chosen to establish a legacy for herself by donating part of her considerable estate to support SNAP spay-neuter programs. The first program to benefit from Ms. Dinkins’s generous bequest was a crisis intervention mission to save a colony of community cats living in an apartment complex in West Houston.

A lady who lived in the complex contacted Shana Richardson, a SNAP volunteer, to tell her there was another woman who was feeding 12–15 homeless cats. The management company had complained to the woman and would throw away the food anytime they saw it. Undaunted, the Good Samaritan continued to feed the animals. The management company retaliated by evicting her. Some of the cats were very friendly and were not afraid of humans. Unfortunately, some people who did not want them around took advantage of this by purposely running over kittens whenever they saw them in the parking lot.

The woman who contacted Richardson lived across from the lady who had been feeding the cats. She brought a litter of kittens into her house to take care of them. When the management company found out, they told her that—because she was helping the cats-- they would not renew her lease. The woman had moved to the complex with her husband and three children after the family lost its house because the husband had become disabled.

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the management company distributed a notice to its residents saying that all of the cats were going to be exterminated on Friday, August 15th. Shana put out a call that day for volunteers to help trap the animals and provide funds for spay-neuter surgery and other care the felines would need to make them suitable for adoption. She was able to locate a place to send the cats after their surgeries. Three ladies who responded to Shana’s plea were out all night on Thursday night and again on the following Sunday night to round up all of the cats. Fortuitously, SNAP had just learned about Ms. Dinkins generous bequest and was able to fund the operation with part of the proceeds.

Among the animals captured were two pregnant females. They were taken into foster homes, and once born, their kittens were also placed in foster homes. The kittens are not yet old enough for spay-neuter surgery, but they will receive surgery and vaccinations under project funding when they reach the appropriate age. Some of the other cats from the complex have already been adopted out and are happily ensconced in their new forever homes.

Ms. Dinkins’s compassion for animals—and for felines in particular—lives on in the cats that were rescued thanks to her gift. This project represents only a fraction of the good work that her bequest will accomplish. SNAP is deeply grateful to the late Ms. Dinkins and her estate for their incredible support of our mission.

Bequests are an enduring way to express your values after you pass. If you are interested in including SNAP in your will, please visit the Wills and Bequests page on our website or contact Laura Welch via email or by calling 713-862-3863, x204.

SNAP Team Struts to Success!
$4,930 Raised for SNAP by Dozens of Participants at Strut Your Mutt Walkathon
SNAP Team strutters assemble for Strut Your Mutt 2014
SNAP Team strutters assemble at the beginning of Strut Your Mutt 2014. $4,930 was raised for SNAP spay-neuter programs at the event.
Over two dozen SNAP Team members turned out for the Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt Walkathon, raising $4,930 for SNAP spay-neuter programs in the process. The total included $1,025 raised for SNAP by The Ambassabulls Project—a separate team that describes itself as “responsible owners spreading awareness about the breed and responsible ownership.” An additional $318 was raised prior to the event by SNAP Team member Barbara Howell during a bake sale. When combined with her other sponsorships, Ms. Howell raised a total of $508. Other top fundraisers included Kate Smargiasso, who raised $1,325, and Dougie Osborn, who raised $407.

Strut Your Mutt took place on Saturday, September 21, 2014, at Houston’s T.C. Jester Park. Team members had the option of walking or running the 5K course. Either way they were welcome to bring up to two of their canine friends along, and many SNAP Team members took advantage of that invitation.

SNAP is grateful to each and every one of you who joined the SNAP Team and to Best Friends Animal Society for helping us reduce the number of homeless animals being born into our communities!
“Hot” Evening at Neon Boots This Friday
Model Dustin Tillman Appears at LGBT Hot Spot to Promote Spay-Neuter Campaign
Model Dustin Tillman strikes a pose for spay-neuter.
Meet "What's Hot? Spay-Neuter!" model Dustin Tillman at Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon on Friday, October 03, 2014. Autographed photos and photo ops will be available for a suggested donation of $10 each.
In just three days you will have the opportunity to meet “HOT” campaign fashion model Dustin Tillman at Neon Boots Dancehall and Saloon—a Houston-area LGBT country and western club. Tillman will be autographing photos of himself that were taken as part of the campaign. The photo shoot included shots of both Dustin and model Christine Salazar with some rather adorable dogs and cats to promote the message, “What’s hot? Spay-Neuter!” The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the value of spay-neuter in fighting animal overpopulation. Images from the campaign can be seen on the SNAP Instagram account. Look for the hot cowboy and cowgirl!

Donations will be accepted for the autographed photos while supplies last. You may also take your photo with Dustin using your own cell phone. The suggested donation is $10 per image either way.. Happy hour prices will be in effect at the bar, and Neon Boots will have yummy BBQ for sale as well. The club is generously donating the proceeds of the BBQ sales and your bar tab back to SNAP!

Be there or be square on Friday, October 03, 2014, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. (You must be 21 or older to attend.) Neon Boots is located at 11410 Hempstead Highway, Houston, Texas 77092.

SNAP is deeply grateful to Neon Boots Dancehall and Saloon and to Christine, Dustin, and photographer Bryan Anderson—all of whom donated their time and hard work in the interest of preventing dogs and cats from being born unwanted.
Dogs Can Paint! Who Knew?
Fifty-Six Painting Pooches Create MasterPieces at Picassos by Paws

One of the many painterly pups at Picassos by Paws.
One of the pups who created works on paper at Picassos by Paws. Fifty-six dogs attended raising $1,066 for spay-neuter.
Fifty-six dogs of all shapes and sizes showed up for Picassos by Paws on Sunday, and each one produced a masterpiece of canine art! SNAP staff members and volunteers assisted each pooch in applying safe non-toxic paint to paper. (One person even brought canvases for her dogs to use!) Donations totaling $1,066 were collected in return. Some dogs were brave and stepped right up to (and onto) the challenge! Others needed a bit of reasurrance and a few treats to stir their muse. In the end, all were successful at producing truly arf-tistic results!

Picassos by Paws was sponsored by Bayou City Outdoors and hosted by Urban Tails at their pet care facility at 1618 Webster St. in Houston. Bayou City Outdoors, according to its website, “is a very active and social outdoor club, planning and hosting multiple events each week.” Urban Tails is a full service emporium providing doggie daycare, lodging, training, and much more. SNAP is grateful to all of the wonderful volunteers who turned out to help and to Bayou City Outdoors and Urban tails for their generosity in holding this fun and creative fundraiser in support of SNAP.

Students Painted, Eisenhut Donated
Artist Kermit Eisenhut Raises $400 (More) for Spay-Neuter at Recent Art Class

Artist Kermit Eisenhut and some of his students.
Artist Kermit Eisenhut and some of the students who learned to paint at his September art class benefiting SNAP.
Talented Houston artist Kermit Eisenhut recently held another in a series of animal painting classes benefiting SNAP. Previous classes have focused on specific breeds of dog including dachshunds and shih tzus. This time around, Kermit opened it up to any breed or species of non-human pal as long as the student could provide a suitable photograph for an initial sketch. Each student paid to participate, and Eisenhut donated every penny raised--$400 this time around--to support SNAP spay-neuter programs!

The class was well attended, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to learn how to paint. Students enjoyed light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages and were free to bring their own alcohol if they so desired. At the end of the evening, each had a new work of art to take home depicting her or his beloved animal. The class was held at the SNAP administration office.

Watch SNAPtales and the SNAP event calendar for future classes in the series. SNAP is deeply grateful to Kermit for generously donating his time and knowledge to conduct these classes.

Bless the Animals!
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Holds Blessing of the Animals

Come to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church blessing of the anima
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will hold a Blessing of the Animals ceremony on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (NOTE: This event has been rescheduled. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 25, 2014.) You are welcome to bring your dog, cat, bird, or whatever (all appropriately leashed or in a carrier or cage) to be blessed!

According to their website, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and School "develops the gifts of all who attend our church and school to help them discover their purpose in God's world." St. Stephen's is located at 1805 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77098 (at the intersection of W. Alabama and Woodhead St.).

Upcoming SNAP Events
Friday, October 03, 2014 – Houston, Texas
  Neon Boots Happy Hour Photo Signing
Join us this Friday for a happy hour and photo signing session with the HOT spay-neuter campaign models.
Saturday, October 04, 2014 - Houston, Texas
  HCPHES Grand Opening of CountyPet Playground
Harris County’s veterinary health department is opening a new dog park, and all are invited!
Sunday, October 12, 2014 - Houston, Texas
  Houstonia Presents Sunday Bloody Sunday
Houston's best restaurants compete for Top Bloody Mary and YOU are the judge! Benefits SNAP!

Saturday, October 25, 2014 - Houston, Texas
  Blessing of the Animals
Have your animal blessed at St. Stephens Episcopal Church at West Alabama and Woodhead.
  Heights Community Yard Sale
Drop off donation items at Norhill and Bayland St. from 7:30-8:30 a.m. for this fundraiser benefiting SNAP!

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner
Hello Darlings!

The holidays are approaching, and with them come the opportunity to indulge in a few more calories than usual. Do you put on a few extra pounds during the season? Are you carrying a few extra already? Everyone wants to look good, but the most important reason to watch your weight is that obesity can affect your health. The same is true for your animals! Read this month’s letter from Pugsly, a Pug-mix from Pasadena, to learn more.

Dear Hedda,

Life is good. I get plenty of love, food, and preventive care from my human family. If anything, I get a bit too much—in the food category anyway. It’s hard to resist extra treats and food when they are offered, so I don’t. How bad is it? Some of my dog park friends have gone from calling me Pugsly to calling me Porky. I’m not happy about that, Hedda. I know it’s not good for my health, and I don’t like this new nickname. Can you give my human family some advice on how to help me slim down?

Sign me,
Porky… um, Pugsly

Dear Pugsly,

I am so glad you wrote. You have raised a very important canine health topic. Discussing obesity is important both because of the ill effects it poses for your health and because it is a growing problem (pardon the pun) in the canine community. To wit, the results of a number of studies compiled by indicate that more than half of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. (The statistics are even worse for cats, so if there are any feline friends in your home, this information applies to them as well.) points out that obesity can lead to or complicate many of the same diseases in dogs and cats that it does in  humans, including “diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers.”

What is the answer? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that it is largely (pardon the pun again) the same as it is for humans. A healthy diet, portion control, and exercise are the path to svelteness.

What constitutes a healthy diet?  According to Matt McMillen writing on the WebMD Pet Health website, it depends on your dog’s age, activity level, and ideal weight. The website advises contacting the maker of individual foods to establish whether the food meets “the minimum requirements for a healthy diet set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog's life stage.” While that may sound like a lot of work, realize that most companies have a presence on the major social media channels these days, so contacting them is relatively easy.

Portion size is also variable depending on your dog’s size, age, and breed. McMillen points out that food labels often provide a guide to appropriate portion size, but some pet food companies may recommend more than your animal needs simply to increase sales. Your veterinarian might be able to make a recommendation, but be aware that many veterinarians get their information about portion size from pet food companies. One possible approach is to begin with the amount recommended by the food manufacturer and monitor the animal's weight. If his or her weight begins to deviate from a healthy range, you can adjust the portion size until a healthy weight is reached and maintained.

As a component of a healthy lifestyle, exercise is a little easier to comprehend. Does your dog get to run and play every day—or at least go for a good walk? If you have a fenced yard, getting some physical activity can be as easy as letting your canine friend out the back door. Be sure the fence is in good repair and that your dog cannot easily escape. Remember to put some fresh water in a shady spot in case your pup gets too warm.

If you do not have a yard, check out a local dog park. Even a walk around the neighborhood can help. Make it last a half hour, and both you and your dog will get the exercise you need.  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:

    James A. "Buddy" Davidson Foundation, $8,750
    David & Betty Sacks Foundation, $1,000
    Laredo Animal Protective Society, $1,386

SNAP Remembers Lost Dogs and Cats
Remember Me Thursday Observed in Memory of Animals That Have Died Homeless
SNAP clinic employees and friends observe Remember Me Thursd
SNAP clinics across Texas recently took part in Remember Me Thursday—a day dedicated to remembering the millions of homeless animals who die in shelters and on the streets. SNAP staff members observed the occasion with candle lighting ceremonies and a moment of silence. The events were held as part of the Remember Me Thursday campaign to honor and recognize each nameless faceless animal as something more than merely a statistic. Indeed the great majority of these animals were no less lovable than the dogs and cats who share our homes. The campaign also serves as a reminder of the countless animals who are homeless today. The lucky ones are in shelters where they have a chance of being adopted. Those on the street face even greater odds of an early death.

Remember Me Thursday is a worldwide event to be held annually on the fourth Thursday of September. It was organized by Mr. Mike Arms at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, California. The center provided materials for the ceremony and worked to publicize the event to help inspire all of us to renew our commitment to ending animal homelessness.
Haute Dimensions Gives It Up for Animals
Women’s Boutique Recently Donated 10 Percent of Sales for Woodland Heights Animals
Haute Dimensions recently held a sales event benefiting anim
Haute Dimensions, a Houston Heights-area women’s clothing boutique, recently held a weekend sales event benefiting the Woodland Heights Animal Fund. The fund was set up in January at the behest of animal lover Tonya Daily, who brought a colony of neglected dogs and cats to the attention of her Houston Heights area neighbors. The fund provides a ready reserve of money to pay for spay-neuter surgery and wellness services to help these animals and other similarly needy dogs and cats in the Heights area.

Haute Dimensions owner Chaun Roberts said she decided to hold the event because she is “an avid dog lover.” The animals clearly have a great friend in Ms. Roberts and in Haute Dimensions. We at SNAP love her compassion for animals and her generous support!

Haute Dimensions Boutique is located in Sunset Heights at 6521 N. Main.
Madame AstroCat[object Object]
Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard the adage that “correlation does not necessarily equal causation?” Many people fall into the trap of assuming that because two things are associated one must be causing the other. Here is an example: when a building is burning, there are often men in red trucks surrounding it. There is a correlation between the two. Does it then stand to reason that the men in those trucks start fires? Obviously this is preposterous, and yet it is exactly the same kind of thinking that can lead otherwise intelligent people to draw equally erroneous conclusions. This is particularly problematic when this faulty logic serves as the basis of bad decision making. Courtland Milloy, a columnist in the Washington Post, recently made just such an error when he reported that he does not intend to have his female cat spayed. This month’s top ten list is devoted to explaining the columnist’s error—and illustrating why having his cat spayed would be the wiser choice.

10) Correlation - Milloy bases his decision on a study conducted at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The study established that animals that are spayed or neutered are more likely to be diagnosed with certain forms of cancer than animals that are not. The columnist, in taking this as a reason not to spay his cat, is making an assumption.

9) Causation - The assumption is that spay-neuter surgery is somehow causing the animal to develop the forms of cancer in question. Note that this is not a conclusion of the study. It merely points out the correlation.

8) Lifespan - Something that was not examined in the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine study is the lifespan of cats and dogs that are sterilized versus the lifespan of those that are not. Fortunately, just such a study has been done by Banfield Pet Hospitals and was reported on by It shows that dogs and cats that are sterilized live significantly longer than those that are not.

7) Cancers - While the animals that are sterilized are more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers, those that are not sterilized are more likely to be diagnosed with other cancers—specifically cancers of the reproductive system.

6) Aging - If reducing an animal’s chance of getting one form of cancer leads to a longer life and a later diagnosis of a different cancer, there is a distinct possibility that the later cancer has nothing to do with the sterilization. Instead, that cancer may simply be more prevalent in dogs and cats that reach an advanced age. Therefore, the incidence of these cancers has only increased because spay-neuter surgery prevented the cancers that would have ended the animal’s life sooner.

5) Choices - Whether one accepts or rejects the idea that sterilization is somehow causing certain cancers—and indeed whether that even turns out to be true—the fact remains that dogs and cats that are sterilized are statistically likely to have longer lives that those that are not. If your choice is to have an animal that dies earlier of one cancer or substantially later of a different cancer, which would you choose?

4) Naysayers - Mr. Milloy cites a group called the Society Against Neutering that suggests that it is hypocritical for humans to attempt to end animal overpopulation when human overpopulation is rampant. This is tantamount to saying that it is wrong to fix your car’s broken water pump because it also needs a valve job. Clearly both are problems, and addressing one should not preclude addressing the other. They also regard sterilization as a “breach of trust” between a dog or cat and his or her human keeper. Whether this is true is dependent on whether you believe spay-neuter surgery provides benefits that exceed any potential dangers, so this is not an argument against spay-neuter, it is a value judgment by those opposed to it.

3) Health Benefits - If the correlation of sterilization surgery and certain cancers does not necessarily imply that the surgery causes those cancers, the benefits of having your animal spayed or neutered become that much more compelling. If you can prevent certain cancers through sterilization, why wouldn’t you? The surgery also reduces the incidence of non-cancerous diseases of the reproductive system. Dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered are also less likely to fight with other animals. Bites and scratches between animals are a primary vector for disease transmission.

2) Behavioral Benefits - Sterilized animals are less likely to mark their territory with urine—something you will appreciate if you have upholstered furniture. Female cats that are spayed are also less likely to yowl because they no longer go into heat. Neutered males are less likely to roam because they are no longer attracted by the scent of females that have gone into heat. Milloy notes that 25 percent of people who had their animals sterilized believe that it made the animal “lethargic and lazy.” Since most animals are altered when they are relatively young, this belief may simply reflect the fact that dogs and cats naturally become less playful as they age.

1) Overpopulation – The most important reason to spay and neuter your cat(s) and dog(s) is, of course, to prevent unwanted animals from being born. Milloy states that his desire to prevent his cat from experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or animal-to-animal transmission of disease has led him to keep his cat indoors. This is certainly helpful, but many households have discovered that a single incidence of kitty slipping out unintentionally can result in a litter of kittens a few months later. Simply put, the benefits of spay-neuter vastly outweigh the dangers perceived by those who do not understand that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

Quote of the Month
"We are all here on earth to help others."  ~ W.H. Auden
No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill
Copyright 1999-2014, 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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