Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:21 PM EDT
After 30 years of rescuing animals, our Person of the Week came to a realization.
Finding homes for unwanted or abused dogs and cats is an important, constant need, but it doesn't address the source of the problem.
She turned her focus to another way to save animals, and there's proof she is making a big difference.
When it rains they might not come, but Sherry Barnwell will try. She feeds six cats every day and they don't even belong to her, "I can't stand to see anything go hungry so I'm gonna feed them."
It started with one, but then kittens showed up, "I couldn't afford to get six cats spayed and neutered."
She called Mary Cervini, founder of Community Partnership for Pets.
A non-profit that provides vouchers for people willing to get their pets spayed or neutered.
"The most you will pay for it is $25." That includes surgery, a rabies shot, and pain medication to take home if needed. It could be so much more expensive
Mary Cervini, "that's just out of the reach for most people, particularly for people who have two or three animals that need spayed or neutered."
Mary has been saving animals her whole life.
At the Henderson County Animal Shelter she's helped organize volunteers, "her goal she always jokes with me is she wants to put us out of business."
She's made it possible for thousands of pets to be spayed or neutered so the ones already here have a better chance of finding a good home.
"I was able to get six cats spayed and neutered through that program."
There's proof the program is working. In Henderson County, just last year, "the shelter intake number was down 827 animals or 22%, which is the first time in the history of the shelter."
And she's begun a program teaching kids about pet responsibility, including the need to have them spayed and neutered.
Joyce Jaffe, volunteer, "but she does so much more the spay or neuter. She takes in, helps dogs and cats that need homes."
There may never be an end to pets that are unwanted, but Mary Cervini has reduced the number that are by the hundreds.
She's found a need and way to make a difference and not just for the animals, "she's done so much for the community."
Community Partnership for Pets is mostly funded with grants, very few private donations, and 100% of the money goes to spay and neutering. Mary and the volunteers are not paid.
Click here to learn more and find our how you can donate to Community Partnership for Pets.