If you visit urban animal shelters you will find they share a similar story; the dogs are predominantly pit bulls and other big breeds, some of the hardest to find new homes for. Cities are also home to hundreds of outdoor, or feral, cats which often live in colonies.

The outcome for these animals is bleak — they are the most at risk of entering the shelter system and the least likely to be adopted. In Hudson County, where 16 percent of households live below the poverty line, many residents cannot afford to spay or neuter their animals -- and there currently is no low-cost spay/neuter clinic to assist these families.

Recognizing this need, local small-business owners Jaclyn Fulop and Drew Nussbaum of Exchange Physical Therapy Group in Jersey City and Weehawken have teamed up with non-profit Liberty Humane Society to find a solution, establishing the first low-cost spay and neuter program in Jersey City.

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“When we learned about this situation and that a solution was within reach, we immediately knew we had to help,” said Jaclyn Fulop, co-owner of Exchange Physical Therapy Group

“We have seen the benefits owning an animal can have through our therapy dog Chloe and want to make sure all of Jersey City’s dogs and cats have an opportunity at a good life,” Fulop continued. “That’s what this program will provide.”

To help Liberty Humane reach its fundraising goal, Exchange Physical Therapy is hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday, March 21, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Corgi Spirits, 1 Distillery Dr., Jersey City.

The public is invited to attend and tickets can be purchased for $25 each at: www.exchangephysicaltherapygroup.com.

The initial goal is to raise enough $25,000 for the first year of the program. But an additional goal is to also create an ongoing donor base for subsequent years.

"We are thrilled to have the support of Exchange Physical Therapy Group and Jaclyn Fulop for this new, life-saving spay/neuter program,” said Liberty Humane Society Executive Director Irene Borngraeber.

“The lack of affordable spay/neuter surgery in Hudson County has contributed to thousands of accidental litters and unwanted pets entering our shelter system,” Borngraeber continued.

“Making this life-saving procedure both affordable and accessible to pet owners in need is a momentous step toward creating a safer, more humane reality for Jersey City’s pets,” she added. We are so grateful for Exchange Physical Therapy Group and Jaclyn's help in expanding these essential services."

In the program’s first year of the, Liberty Humane Society is partnering with People for Animals in Hillside to bring its mobile spay/neuter mobile unit to the shelter in Jersey City approximately twice per month.

Due to capacity and resources, the program is designed initially for large dogs (40-plus pounds) and outdoor cats in colonies of 10 or fewer whose owners/caretakers reside in the contracted service areas of Jersey City and Hoboken. An eligible pet owner will pay $10 to spay or neuter his/her dog or cat.

“We are really excited to work with Liberty Humane Society on this project as we know that it can make an important and lasting impact not only for the animals, but the pet owners as well,” Fulop said. “The community response so far has been tremendous, and we look forward to seeing everyone this week.”

About Exchange Physical Therapy Group

Exchange Physical Therapy Group is a premier outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic, with locations at the transit terminals in Exchange Place in Jersey City and Weehawken. The group provides one-on-one, personalized treatment plans for its patients, with a team-oriented approach. The company’s physical therapists have experience with subspecialties in post-surgical rehabilitation, sport-specific rehabilitation, pediatric therapy and women’s health. “We strive to enhance all of our patients’ quality of life,” a spokesperson said.

About Liberty Humane Society

Liberty Humane Society is the only non-profit animal shelter and control facility in Hudson County. “We believe that every shelter pet deserves a second chance at finding a loving home,” a spokesperson said. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, its staff is dedicated to the best possible outcomes for the animals in residence at the shelter and to increasing the availability of preventative services. The Wellness Clinic provides low-cost health care to help keep local pets in their homes, and its adoption counselors place more than one thousand animals in homes each year. For more information, contact Borngraeber at (201) 547-4147, ext.1006, or irene@libertyhumane.org