In 1993, Kent Robertson, then executive director of Humane Society of Missouri, convened a local “Pet Overpopulation Task Force”. This task force was to brainstorm and formulate ways to attack the pet overpopulation problem in the St. Louis area. It was felt that no one organization or municipality could have the same power as a group of entities working together.
Originally this group was made up of delegates from major humane organizations (private and public). As it grew, it became evident that the input and work of concerned individuals would be an asset to the group so membership was opened to individuals. The group grew and named itself Operation SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Today). By-laws and articles of incorporation were drawn up when it became evident that the organization was indeed viable and needed to attend to legal and procedural issues. We were incorporated as a 501(c)3 in January of 1995.
Our means to reduce the pet overpopulation was three-fold: sterilization, education and legislation. In 2001 we went from an advocacy only group to a facilitator of low-cost spay and neuter. We developed several pilot programs with the city of St. Louis and other animal welfare groups. These pilot programs allowed us to determine the most effective way to provide low-cost spay/neuter to the public. As we searched for the best means, we tried several things: we initiated a coupon program with local veterinary clinics; we administered a three-month mobile clinic in north St. Louis with the City of St. Louis using a vehicle we leased from Humane Alliance; we did two shuttle bus programs in north St. Louis and south St. Louis with a vehicle donated by Huntleigh Bus; we held several breed specific spay/neuter events for pit bulls and Rottweilers in the city. In 2002 we held our first “Nickel Neuter” program for male cats. This program used ten local veterinary clinics and the procedure cost the cat owners five cents. After two events and 2,000 neuters, we added female cats and male and female dogs to the program and “TenSPOT Fix” was born. These events held twice a year averaged 1,000 animals per event, the cost to the public was $10 per pet. OpSPTO worked with 16-20 clinics throughout a seven county area, making spay/neuter affordable and easily accebile. In 2011 we added a mobile spay/neuter clinic to our programs, hoping to use this to provide low-cost and easily accessible procedures for under-served rural and urban communities.
In 2008 OpSPOT was awarded the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability seal.
So far our programs have spayed or neutered over 48,000 animals. Our educational materials are distributed through events, other humane organizations and our website. We advise on responsible pet ownership and provide testimony at the local and state administrative levels.