Spay/neuter clinic coming to G.C.

10/26/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

With a goal to control the local pet population, the Finney County Humane Society is working with a Colorado-based veterinary group to bring a low-cost, mobile spay and neuter clinic to Garden City next weekend.

From Friday through Nov. 3, the Spay Today Mobile Outreach will be located on the south side of the Garden City animal shelter offering spay and neuter services and vaccinations. The spay and neuter services do require advance scheduling, but the vaccination clinic does not.

Teri Sutherlin, Finney County Humane Society president, said the mobile outreach clinic travels across the country offering low cost spay and neuter services, as well as other veterinary services, including low cost shots and microchips for dogs and cats.

"What we're trying to target is people who don't get their animals spayed or neutered because the cost is kind of prohibitive for them. These clinics offer spaying or neutering at half the price of the typical cost because they can do them in large numbers," Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin said the clinic is open to anyone, but the target audience is people not getting veterinary care for their animals.

"We're hoping if they will get one thing out of the way, this more expensive thing, then we can then get them hooked up with a local vet so they will follow up with veterinary care locally," Sutherlin said. "A lot of people don't have vets at all, so we'll also educate them about the vets in our area that they can use if their animal is sick or injured."

Based out of Longmont, Colo., Pam Pierce, practice manager, and veterinarian Dr. Robert Foglia began partnering on the mobile outreach clinic this past May, but both have been involved in private veterinary practice for many years.

Speaking Friday from Dalton, Ga., where they were doing another outreach clinic, Pierce said next weekend's outreach will be the first time one has been offered in Garden City, but they have been to Liberal recently and will offer another Liberal clinic the week after Garden City's.

"We had a great response, a great turnout and a wonderful host organization. Dr. Foglia and our small team rely heavily on amazing volunteer support to help keep us going during the day. The volunteers are wonderful for our program," she said.

Pierce said a "friend of a friend" led them to take their mobile clinic to Georgia to help rural areas that had problems with pet overpopulation and were experiencing high numbers of euthanasia in shelters with limited resources.

As part of the Longmont Humane Society, Pierce helped start an animal health care program that evolved into a low cost spay and neuter program and a wellness program. She and Foglia joined forces out of a desire to provide outreach in areas where people might not have adequate resources for veterinary care.

A benefactor helped them obtain a custom built vehicle where they do surgery, she said. The mobile outreach clinic is on the road three weeks at a time, every other month.

"We're hoping to make an impact on reducing the numbers of animals euthanized. It's a constant battle. Our mission statement says the only way to reduce the number of euthanasia is through aggressive targeted spaying and neutering," she said. "If we can get folks in the door, we can hopefully get them associated with their local veterinarians, as well. That's part of the program."

FCHS board member Monica Turrentine said the organization learned of the outreach clinic after Pierce contacted the local animal shelter over the summer and was put in touch with the humane society.

Turrentine said the response to next week's clinic already has been strong.

"I put it on Facebook last night, and I have probably filled about three-quarters of the spots available. Their goal is to do 30 animals per day, and we are filling that," she said.

The strong demand is not surprising to Turrentine, who said the outreach clinic would like to come back to the community every other month if this first clinic has strong participation.

"Garden City is not just Garden City. We're considered a regional hub, so we're drawing in from towns around us," she said.

Turrentine said the clinic is not meant to take anything away from local veterinarians. The goal is to hopefully get people to start getting ongoing medical care for pets and enhance business for local veterinarians.

"We have very good vets here in town. But we have a population that don't get their pet vaccinated like they should, and this will help them, and it will help raise awareness of the need for vaccinations and the importance of spaying and neutering. We're trying to make this a win-win situation for everybody," she said.

The outreach clinic charges flat rates for spay/neuter services of $20 for cats and $40 for dogs. Pets in heat or with undescended testicles cost an additional $20.

Pets must be current on rabies vaccination, or the vaccine will be administered on day of surgery for an additional fee.

All surgeries must be scheduled in advance. To schedule an appointment, call (620) 272-5651 and leave a message, or send an email to fchsgck@yahoo.com

Pets are dropped off the day of surgery between 8 and 9 a.m. and picked up the same day between 4 and 5 p.m.

The clinic accepts payments by cash or credit card only. They cannot accept checks.

A vaccination clinic also will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. each day and does not require an appointment.

Shots and medications available for dogs and their costs include: distemper combination, $15; leptospirosis, $20; rabies (12 weeks and older) one year, $20, or three year, $25; microchip, $15; heart worm tests, $20; heart worm preventive six-month supply, small — $30, medium — $35, and large — $40.

Shots and medications for cats and their costs include: distemper combination, $15; feline leukemia, $20; feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus test, $30; rabies (12 weeks and older) one year, $20, or three year, $25; and microchip, $15.

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