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LUCKY STAR PLEDGE
Each year we donate 50 cat spay or neuter. People who are war veterans, on disability or needy seniors can apply. This program is not for ferrel cats, only cats who are already or will be adopted. Please contact our office if you would like more info.
Our 2012 Pledge:
50 feline surgeries
25 dog or cat exams
25 dog or cat rabies vaccines
Dr. Ohad Barnea, of the Cliffside Park and Tenafly animal hospitals, served three years in the Israeli army. Now, he is assisting military veterans in New Jersey who wish to bring a pet into their civilian lives.
Barnea has donated 52 free spay or neuter procedures to the Lucky Star program, which enables people in need to have their pets sterilized at no cost.
Barnea has been one of Lucky Stars' biggest donors since its inception in the early 2000s. In addition to providing exams and rabies shots, he has agreed to perform one free procedure for each week of the year, donating his time, fees and all related costs, because he said he knows how enriching it can be to share ones' own life with an animal.
The Lucky Star program allows participating veterinarians to set their own qualification criteria, and Barnea offers his services to senior citizens, war veterans, the unemployed and anyone else with a demonstrable need.
"We are most eager to match our good deed with other good deeds," Barnea explained. "So, someone who has rescued an animal but cannot afford to spay or neuter their new pet, may contact us."
Barnea primarily offers his services for cats, which, he says, out-number dogs with the high feral population. But, he is quick to clarify that he does not sterilize feral cats that are going to be released. Rather, he is seeking "forever homes" for animals and humans to share.
Given the time and complexity of some procedures, Barnea focuses on small, male dogs in addition to cats.
Lucky Stars' mission is to gather, recognize and celebrate the continuing annual commitment of each of its members to provide some level of free spay-neuter services, according to its founder, Roberta Shields.
"The hope is that the Lucky Star Program will spread, vet by vet, across the country as they each make a formal, visible, personal commitment to annually spay or neuter a specific number of animals at no charge," Shields said.
Shields said, "I realized that there are so many wonderful organizations working hard to place homeless animals, but what is so important it 'turning off the spigot,' and that means spay-neuter."
"In 2003 I trapped a stray kitten, and through that experience realized the expense of getting a little animal like that checked out, vaccinated, tested and 'fixed'. She was placed in a wonderful home and rules it to this day!" she shared.
"I heard that many veterinarians find the paperwork associated with various subsidized discounted spay-neuter surgery programs burdensome, so I decided to appeal to veterinarians to pledge to provide some number of absolutely free spay neuter surgeries totally on their own terms. No paperwork, no reporting, just an 'honor system' pledge to help needy animals by providing this critical surgery, and any other services they chose, at absolutely no cost to the recipient of the veterinarian's choice," she added.
Shields explained that the Lucky Star Spay-Neuter Program was founded in honor of her late mother, Helen M. Shields, who loved animals. The program's symbol, a star circled by the Hungarian words for "May this be your Lucky Star," is modeled after a small gold charm worn by Helen Shields. Since its inception, Lucky Star participants have pledged 2,612 free say-neuter surgeries, according to Roberta Shields.
"Millions of animals are killed each year for lack of a home at enormous cost. Spaying or neutering is key to solving the animal overpopulation problem. The generosity of these Lucky Star Veterinarians is lifesaving anytime, but particularly now when resources available to help needy animals are more strained than ever," Shields said.