Lee Colucci wasn’t taking any chances Wednesday when it came to getting a spot in line for his dog at the free spay and neuter clinic in Surprise.

After missing out on an opportunity Tuesday by queuing up too late at 5 a.m., Colucci had his spot staked out at 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Colucci and his dog Chril waited about four hours for the Arizona Humane Society’s clinic to open in a parking lot near Surprise City Hall. Thirty spots were available each day of the clinic, which began Tuesday and ends today. “I didn’t realize it was a freebie,” said Colucci, who lives in Peoria.

The mobile clinic usually offers discounted services and moves all over the Valley, said the Arizona Humane Society’s public relations manager Bretta Nelson. The discounts are about half of what the cost would be at a veterinarian’s office, Nelson said.

Spaying and neutering pets is one of the most important aspects of what AHS does, Nelson said, because it helps curb pet overpopulation.

“You see people lining up so early, which really shows they are trying to be responsible and do the right thing,” she said of the mobile clinics.

AHS takes in about 44,000 animals per year, or about 121 a day, and Maricopa County is second only to Los Angeles County.

“Our philosophy is we don’t really care where people go, as long as they do it,” Nelson said.

“Bottom line, there’s just not enough homes for the number of animals,” she said, adding that with the economy, AHS is also taking in many abandoned pets.

Denise Nebi drove from Casa Grande with her father, Michael, to bring their cats to the clinic.

“We came yesterday, too, but we didn’t make it,” Nebi said while her kitten, Baby, sat quietly in her pink cage, unfazed by all the dogs and people mingling around.

Surprise resident Stacy Gray said she also arrived at the lot around 5 a.m. but wasn’t able to schedule her dog Maggie to be spayed. After the clinic opened, she said she would wait for about an hour on a wait list in case one of the other pets couldn’t be operated on.

“It won’t be a big deal if I have to go home,” Gray said, adding that if she didn’t make it, she would try again this morning. “I just need to get it done.”

For information, including dates and locations of upcoming mobile spay and neuter stops in the Valley, call 602-997-7586, Ext. 3002.

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