Arizona Nonprofits: Altered Tails

Marilyn HawkesMay 6, 2019
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In our continuing series on Valley nonprofit organizations, we get the inside scoop about Altered Tails from the director of operations, Jennifer M. Vogel, a certified veterinary technician with more than 21 years of experience in the veterinary field. Vogel, who joined Altered Tails in 2018, has three dogs, four cats and a chinchilla.

Q: How did Altered Tails get started?

A: Altered Tails Barnhart Clinic has a rich history. The organization was founded in 1999, but got started in earnest in 2007 when local philanthropists Dick and Bea Barnhart generously donated a building that became the organization’s first clinic for spay and neuter services. By 2012, the organization had become the first and only Humane Alliance-certified clinic in Arizona, with spay and neuter services topping 8,000.

With clinics in Phoenix and Mesa and help from funding partners such as PetSmart Charities and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Altered Tails has sterilized more than 200,000 dogs and cats, contributing to their long-term health while reducing the number of unwanted pets in local shelters.

Q: What is Altered Tails doing that other animal welfare organizations are not?

A: Altered Tails provides accessible and affordable spay/neuter solutions for companion animals and free-roaming cats. We are a part of a national model with proven success in pet sterilization and reducing the euthanasia rate as a means of animal population control.

Our clinics have full-time veterinarians who are committed to:

  • Providing every day pricing that is on average, 75 percent lower than full service-providers.
  • Offering affordable vaccines, microchipping and other vital services to owners of companion pets and rescue organizations.
  • Reducing the number of feral cats living in our communities through our Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program.
  • Reducing the number of unwanted and stray pets entering our local shelters.

Q: How has Altered Tails helped reduce the number of cats and dogs in animal shelters?

A: Altered Tails has been tireless in its efforts to reduce not only the number of cats and dogs in shelters but also those left to fend for themselves on the streets. Last year alone, Altered Tails performed more than 18,000 spay and neuter surgeries on companion animals and feral cats, and the organization has set an even higher goal in 2019. As one of seven of the Valley’s largest animal welfare groups, Altered Tails also has helped reduce the intake into shelters by 40 percent and the euthanasia of dogs and cats by an astounding 86 percent since 2012.

Q: Why is this cause important?

A: Uncontrolled reproduction has resulted in an overpopulation of puppies and kittens that end up on the streets or in overcrowded animal shelters. As these abandoned animals await their forever homes, far too many end up being euthanized.

Consider that:

  • Puppies and kittens can reproduce as early as four months old.
  • One female cat and her offspring can produce more than 400,000 cats.
  • One female dog and her offspring can produce more than 60,000 puppies.

Altered Tails has set out to change that through low-cost spaying and neutering. More than 85 percent of all dollars raised for the organization are earmarked for pet sterilization and wellness services.

Q: What is a memorable moment you’ve had working with Altered Tails?

A: My favorite moment at Altered Tails is seeing our patients recover on our “beach” filled with heated blankets and towels after their procedures.

Q: What would you like people to know about Altered Tails?

A: Having a pet is one of the greatest joys of life, but having a furry family member doesn’t have to break the bank. Altered Tails helps defray the cost of spay/neuter services by offering these procedures at a 75 percent savings compared with traditional veterinary services. We also offer free or deeply discounted services on procedures for given breeds and during special times of the year, thanks to our generous funding partners.