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The Hill Country Humane Society is set to receive a heavy-duty mobile spay and neuter unit in early 2024. It will offer regular free and low-cost surgeries for pets in the Highland Lakes.

The Humane Society secured funding for the mobile unit with a $100,000 contribution from the city of Burnet on April 21 and through its own fundraising efforts. The organization is contracted with seven entities in the region, including Burnet, for animal intake. The mobile unit will also bring dogs to more accessible locations for adoptions. 

Unfixed dogs and cats are a major contributor to overpopulation, and 91 percent of the animals brought to the shelter are not fixed, Hill Country Humane Society Director Paighton Corley told

“Our goal really is to stop animal homelessness,” she said.

A direct connection exists between the number of strays and the number of unfixed animals in the region, Corley said. One unfixed female dog can lead to the birth of an estimated 67,000 dogs over the course of six years, according to a study from the North Shore Animal League.

Corley and Highland Lakes Canine Rescue Executive Director Brittany Osbourn provided estimates for the cost of spay and neuter surgeries in the region.

Neutering a male dog can cost $150-$350, while spay surgeries for females can cost $250-$500. Surgeries can be cheaper if you get your pet from a rescue or a shelter, but it depends on the facility. Specialized spay and neuter clinics offer more affordable surgeries, but they often have long wait lists, according to Osbourn.

The mobile unit will allow Humane Society shelter staff to facilitate spay and neuter surgeries at specified dates, times, and locations across the Highland Lakes, making them more accessible to residents. Corley said the shelter is aiming for multiple events a month to provide as many free surgeries as funding allows, but low-cost surgeries will likely be part of the unit’s regular operation.

Spay surgeries also help prevent mammary and other cancers in female dogs that can form in their reproductive systems as they age.

The Hill Country Humane Society handles stray animals in Burnet and Llano counties and the cities of Burnet, Granite Shoals, Bertram, Sunrise Beach Village, and Horseshoe Bay.