The goal of this event was two-fold. One, obviously, was to invite people to bring their pets to the event for spaying and neutering, and to get as many animals fixed as possible.
The other goal, just as important, was to advertise the importance of spaying and neutering. That is why whenever we advertised the opportunity to have animals sterilized, we also emphasized the benefits of spaying and neutering, and listed reasons why it is important to get animals fixed. Thus, even if people didn't bring their animals to the event, they would still be educated about the importance of fixing their animals.
Our founder Ken and volunteers went house to house inviting people to spay and neuter their pets. A surprising number of people said that they would like to avail but cannot touch their dogs - their own dogs - without getting bitten.
We printed 170 tarpaulins, which we put up all over the Matina area of Davao. Again, these tarps touted the benefits of spaying/neutering, while inviting people to get their animals fixed.
We also posted on Facebook, targetting first the Philippines in one post, and then just Davao City in another post. We received more than 18,000 likes in total. Wow. Again, the purpose of these posts was to advertise the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as the actual event.
A lot of people who saw our posts of Facebook said they are unable to bring their pets due to lack of transportation. It is a sad fact that taxis and jeepneys often turn down passengers with animals. In retrospect, we should have hired a bus or truck and supplied transportation.
Two radio stations, Brigada News and Home Radio, were kind enough to cover the event. We also submitted a press release to a local newspaper, but they weren't interested. We also arranged for a national TV station's news team to cover the actual event, but they ended up not showing up, for unknown reasons.
All in all, we received applications for 598 pets. We figured that with a no-show rate of 10%, we would be supplying the PPBCC with about 550 pets.
On the first day, Saturday the 26th of August, 2017, a total of 235 animals were sterilized. We scheduled 50 animals for 7:00 AM and 25 more for every following hour. Wait times were about 2 hours in the morning, and 3-4 hours later in the afternoon, which compares favorably to other mass spay/neuter events where people have to wait all day.
On the second day, Sunday the 27th, the turnout was higher, and we were on track for 265 animals for a two-day total of 500, but it started raining early in the afternoon, and by 4:00 in the afternoon the number of pets being brought in had slowed to a trickle. All in all, 250 animals were sterilized on Sunday.
Our original goal was to target those in the lower income brackets who have a hard time getting their pets fixed due to financial issues, and who are more likely to end up dumping their animals on the streets. We ended up reaching a mix of lower-income people who would never otherwise fix their animals, or even take their animals to a clinic, as well as people who are already aware of the importance of spaying/neutering, but are unable to fix their pets due to lack of opportunity.
A total of 485 pets were fixed over the course of two days. One dog turned out to have severe ehrlichiosis and died a few hours after her operation. Here is a visual representation of 484 animals fixed.
The goal of this event was 500 fixes, and we forwarded funds for that amount to the PPBCC Foundation prior to the event. The PPBCC said they might be able to process more, if conditions were good, so we accepted donations for an additional 30 procedures, or 530 procedures in total. However, due to the large number of no-shows, we were not able to supply that many animals. Consequently, we have refunded to the respective donors the chronologically last 30 donations received (refunds were sent on September 6, 2017).
Although the final result was just short of the target of 500 animals, 484 animals fixed still broke the national record, and made a big impact in the animals' lives. The event was a success, and organizing this event is our greatest achievement to date. It is amazing to think that one little kid feeding a family of street dogs led to so much support that 3 years later we were able to organize such a big event. If anyone needs proof that humans are fundamentally good, this event is it.
Thank you to the amazingly generous donors from all over the world for supporting the shelter, and for making this mass spay/neuter event possible.
Thank you also to the 8-person strong team from the PPBCC Foundation, led by Dr Mace Licuanan, for trusting us to organize this event, for making the trip, for sharing their expertise, and for working very, very hard to get the procedures done.
History was made. This was the first ever mass spay/neuter event to be held in this city. We changed many, many animals' and people's lives for the better. The significance of this event in the history of animal welfare in the Philippines cannot be overstated. It is milestones like this that will reduce the suffering of the animals and lead to a better relationship between us humans and our four-legged friends.