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Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2023


Pet Parts

SNIP Bus applies a practical solution—a mobile spay-and-neuter clinic—to solve pet overpopulation.

By Caitlin Fillmore

“And remember: Spay and neuter makes you cuter!” This cheery voicemail sign-off is for Melanie Scherer, founder of the Spay Neuter Imperative Project (SNIP) Bus—a mobile clinic traveling to low-income neighborhoods and performing affordable surgeries for pets.

It’s one of the slogans used when discussing pet overpopulation, leading to thousands of healthy puppies and kittens being euthanized each year only because there are too many, according to Scherer, a former executive sales recruiter. Scherer adopted the cause after realizing she could provide a practical solution.

Scherer established the first SNIP Bus in the Coachella Valley in June 2016. Today, two vehicles serve pet parents from Kern County to Fresno.

By 2018, Scherer was splitting her time between Southern California and Carmel. She soon learned of a similar challenge in Monterey County. “We needed a high-volume solution,” Scherer says. Now the one local SNIP Bus is “fully booked for November and

pouring into December.”

An average of 250 Monterey County pets per month receive care. Over five years, the nonprofit has spayed and neutered more than 30,000 cats and dogs in the county.

The idea is to bring spay and neuter services to people where they are, making it convenient—the seemingly optional task can fall off of people’s priority lists, Scherer says, specifically citing South County and North County, further from veterinary hubs on the

Monterey Peninsula. “These are very high-intake areas for animals and there is zero accessibility for vet care.”

The team aboard the SNIP Bus is specialized in high-volume spay and neuter services, using a narrow clinical area with three anesthesia machines and three surgery tables. “There’s a very specific set-up to make this very effective,” said Scherer. “The team has

to be on top of their game.”

Trained teams and specialty vehicles don’t come cheap. Medical supplies like anesthesia and vaccinations alone top $10,000 a month. But Scherer’s conviction in her nonprofit’s role in controlling animal populations keeps her tirelessly advocating. “I know spay and neuter is the solution,” she says.