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      Newberry County overwhelmed with stray, unwanted pets

      Newberry, S.C. (WACH) - Some pet owners in Newberry County say they are having to choose between caring for their families or their pets.

      Officials say the pets are losing out as more owners can't afford to spay or neuter them so they end up at the Newberry County Animal Shelter.

      "We did close to 500 adoptions, but with the populations that we have coming into the shelter that is not really enough,â?? said Director Leslie Jenkins.

      â??We've seen a lot of sweet, nice, healthy animals get put to sleep because we don't have the space."

      Newberry County Council approved a low cost spay and neuter program that will begin February 22nd and will be run by Pawmetto Lifeline.

      The normal cost to spay a pet is between 60 and 80 dollars; this initiative by the county could slash that cost in half.

      â??Cost is certainly a barrier for most folks and transportation is another barrier,â?? said Pawmetto Lifeline Medical Director Tracy Johnson. â??We have addressed both of those issues.â??

      Pawmetto volunteers will transport the animals to and from their Columbia facility where the surgeries will take place beginning in the spring.

      Jenkins is hoping the program will help reduce the population at the shelter.

      â??It's not going happen overnight; but over a certain amount of years it's going to reduce the intake of the unwanted pets or strays that end up in the shelter."