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Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana copes with funding shortfall

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Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana has stopped issuing certificates for low-cost surgeries.

Juli Erhart-Graves, president of the volunteer-run organization, said demand has simply outstripped SNSI’s ability to raise money and win grants during the downturn.

“It’s just been growing, and growing and growing,” she said.

SNSI negotiates reduced fees with veterinarians in central Indiana, as well as the Bloomington and Evansville areas. The organization then issues coupons to eligible pet owners. The organization has also arranged low-cost spay and neuter services through Indianapolis shelters, but Erhart-Graves said it has stopped those programs as well.

In the last 12 months, SNSI has spent more than $163,000 to help cover the cost of about 4,900 surgeries. Some of that revenue was carried over from 2008, when the organization received two large grants and a significant bequest, Erhart-Graves said.

Outstanding vouchers will continue to be honored, Erhart-Graves said. She hopes that upcoming fundraisers, including the Hair Ball Oct. 2 and the annual fall Nut Sale, will help restart the program by 2011.

A new specialty license plate for pet lovers that becomes available in 2011 will also benefit SNSI, but the organization doesn’t expect to begin receiving the revenue, $25 per license plate, until 2012.

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