PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Shelters in the Phoenix area are at capacity and it only gets worse in the summer months. 

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control started thinking of ways to prevent that from happening.

[WATCH: New grant-funded program helps fight the overpopulation of pets in Phoenix]

A new grant has allowed them to start a new program and go to the source of the issue.

The grant allows the department to send an employee door-to-door in one of the most poverty stricken areas in Phoenix.

For MCACC, that's Starla Clark, who is a one-woman foot patrol on a mission to stop cats and dogs from multiplying.

The grant covers spays and neuters, along with microchips and vaccines. They're targeting neighborhoods where most of the shelter animals come from areas affected by poverty.

"Most of those people I've talked to don't have any transportation - half of them don't even have telephones," Clark said.

Clark is going door to door.

"Oh, I was scared to death. I didn't know if they were just going to slam the door in my face," said Clark.

The dogs may not always welcome her visits but she found their owners do.

"First thing they'd say is they'd hold up some little dog and say is, 'Can you quit making it have puppies?' Haha and it's like, yes!" said Clark.

They are trying to stretch their dollars as far as possible. The initial plan was to offer reduced fees.

"Low cost was still not going to happen. As soon as you brought up fees, they were like, 'Uh uh.' The minute you'd go, 'Ii can do it for free,' they go, 'Oh, okay,'" said Clark.

So free it is.

"That word spread very quickly between the neighbors. So when I went out the next day people were going- that's her," said Clark.

We followed Clark on her rounds.

"I pick a street I haven't been on, and I start knocking on the door," said Clark.

She's been doing this for about a month. One day she was near 35th Avenue & Buckeye Road in south Phoenix.

Chihuahuas and pit bulls are typically the dogs she finds unspayed and unneutered.

At our first stop, we found Lucy Romero, who was appreciative of the offer.

"This is good, and there are a lot of dogs running around here," said Romero.

She's typical of who Clark finds- people with good hearts, who try to take care of the animals.

"So they're all over. I don't know if people just dump them or what they do, but they all come around," said Romero.

Animals, unspayed, unneutered and unvaccinated end up taking up taxpayer resources at the shelter and can spread diseases without the proper shots.

It's unclear how far the grant from Sunset Ranch Rescue will stretch. It'll allow Clark to continue covering ground for at least the rest of the year, helping pets and people who need it most.

"A lot of these people want to care for the animals, but don't have the resources to care for the animals," said Jose Santiago with MCACC. "We're still going to see animals coming in, but if we can get at it right where it starts, it's a huge win for us."

The goal is fewer animals at the shelter and happier, healthier pets in their homes.

Jared anchors the News at 8 on 3TV, and reports for both 3TV and CBS 5. He frequently contributes to the 3TV franchise series 3TV Originals. 


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