The Sacramento SPCA is offering to spay or neuter pet pit bull dogs or pit bull mixes for free to residents of Rancho Cordova, which has one of the area's highest concentrations of the breed.
A grant from PetSmart Charities will fund 600 free surgeries to pit bulls whose owners live in the 95670 or 95827 area codes, said SPCA spokeswoman Lesley Kirrene.
Surgeries must be scheduled in advance, and proof of address is required.
The SPCA estimates that some 860 pit bulls or mixes live in Rancho Cordova, and "we hope to provide surgeries to 75 percent of them with this grant," said Kirrene. The shelter, on Bradshaw Road, will be working with city officials and law enforcement to spread the word about the program.
Last year, through its "We Pay to Spay" program, more than 1,500 pit bulls from all over the county and West Sacramento received surgeries at the SPCA's expense, said Kirrene.
She said the effort is needed because shelters in the Sacramento area house more pit bulls than any other breed, "followed by Chihuahuas, which are a close second."
Pit bulls, which have a reputation for aggressive behavior, "can be really wonderful pet dogs, and having them altered cuts down" on potential problems, she said. "It makes them better pets, and more adoptable as well."
"The bottom line is that this is about reducing pet overpopulation," she said. "Hopefully it will reduce the number of unwanted animals going into shelters every year."
For more information or to schedule an appointment, Rancho Cordova residents should call (916) 504-2825.
People outside of Sacramento should phone (916) 504-2817 or visit the Sacramento SPCA's Website.