Free spay/neuter clinic: Dozens line up before sunrise

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dozens of people lined up Tuesday, some as early as 3:30 a.m., for the Arizona Humane Society's free spay and neuter mobile clinic.

Check-in began at 6:30 a.m., but many pet parents were lined up well before that because the clinic is a first-come, first served operation and space is limited. AHS says it will spay or neuter between 30 and 50 pets per day.

The AHS mobile clinic has set up shop at the Arizona Historical Society, 1300 N. College Avenue, Tempe. Free spay and neuter services will be offered Wednesday and Thursday, as well.

Those who were in line, but unable to have their pets spayed or neutered Tuesday due to space constraints were given vouchers to get the free service at a future time.

The three-day free spay/neuter event is funded by a grant from the PetSmart Charities, which was founded to create and support programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. According to it website, PetSmart Charities is the largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, and AHS is one of its beneficiaries.

Vets and animal experts agree that it is essential for pet owners to have their animals spayed or neutered. That goes for all animals, not just cats and dogs.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless pets taken into animals shelter each y ear. Only about half of them are adopted. The remaining animals are euthanized.

"These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions," the HSUS website reads.

Spaying or neuters your pet not only helps control the pet population, it also is good for your pet's health and can even help alleviate hormone-driven aggressive behavior.

Important information if you are going to have your pet spayed or neutered at the mobile clinic

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers or pillowcases.

All pets must have fasted (no food) for 12 hours prior to surgery.

All pets must be at least 2 months old, no older than 5 years and weigh at least 2.5 pounds. We are unable to accept dogs weighing more than 95 lbs.

No more than two pets per household, unless vacancy allows.

Pets will be able to go home the same day; pet owners should be prepared to pick up their pet at a designated time.