Bergen Spay & Neuter Alliance is on a mission to make spay & neuter affordable and accessible to everyone.
Bergen Spay and Neuter Alliance (Bergen) was formed in 2019 by Kristin Des Marais who has been active in animal welfare since 2004. In 2019, Des Marais recognized the unmet need for spay and neuter services in rural communities within Colorado. She formed a new organization to promote collaboration among other animal shelters, veterinary care providers and local governments thereby increasing access to services in high-needs areas. Since June, 2019, Bergen Spay and Neuter Alliance has sterilized 4,534 dogs and cats. As of June 1, 2021, Bergen had sterilized 1,235 animals.
A recent report published by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition in 2018 stated that households with income less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) were less likely than higher-income households to own sterilized cats and dogs. In the more rural areas of Colorado, a significant percent of the population lives in poverty. For example in Alamosa, 40% of the population is living in poverty, 22% in Pueblo, and 20% in Florence. This data informs the location Bergen's services are offered, with targeted programming in lower income communities in Colorado. Bergen's services are modeled after guidelines from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV). The ASV describes "high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter programs" as the most impactful approach to significantly reducing shelter impoundment and euthanasia of both cats and dogs.
The Bergen Spay & Neuter Alliance is named in memory of Wendy Bergen, who passed away in 2017 from a brain aneurysm. Wendy was a dedicated supporter of spay and neuter.
While the organization focuses on rural Colorado communities, it has recently incorporated providing spay and neuter services to animals belonging to people experiencing homelessness in the Denver metropolitan area.
After a feral cat clinic, one community member said: "What a great event! You all just prevented at least 540 kittens being born - impressive- Congrats!"
After a clinic in Delta, a volunteer commented: "The folks in the Delta area are ROCK STARS!!! Some come from many miles away to volunteer and take care of the rest of us and all the critters! I'm so glad to be helping with this project!"
"What a service to our community. Hopefully we will see less and less of a need with all your efforts. You guys rock!"