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Spay/Neuter Clinic is Planned for Springfield

Each year, thousands of unwanted cats and dogs end up in area animal shelters. Some of them find homes, but many are euthanized. A local group is working on a plan to address that problem. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

Sometime next spring, the doors are expected to open on a new clinic in North Springfield. It will be a place where low-income pet owners can take their cats and dogs to have them spayed and neutered at an affordable price.The Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation or SAAF is a coalition of seven local animal welfare organizations. It’s working with the Humane Alliance, a non-profit group in Asheville, North Carolina, to get the clinic up and running.Janet Martin, president of SAAF, says SAAF House, which the clinic will be called, is expected to perform a minimum of 6000 spay/neuter surgeries each year...

"You have to do a high volume in order to keep the costs low but to make enough money to operate your clinic."

Not only will the clinic target low-income pet owners, it will also serve feral cat caregivers, animal shelters and rescue groups.The clinic will be based on the Humane Alliance model, which uses a highly efficient surgical technique, pays the staff competitive wages, performs a large number of surgeries and provides only spay/neuter and other limited one-time services.Marianne Luft, spokesperson for the Humane Alliance says the clinics don’t compete with local veterinarians…

"All we do is spay/neuter. We provide some basic services at the time of surgery, but that's the only time that we see the animal, and we refer folks out to their private vets for any other services that they need."

According to Luft, they haven’t seen any decline in private veterinary business in Asheville and they even get referrals for the clinic from local vets. Janet Martin says five vets in the Springfield area have offered to provide free follow-up exams to clients of the spay/neuter clinic.Numbers are just beginning to become available for the communities where similar spay/neuter clinics are located. But in Asheville, Luft says the clinic has had a significant impact on the unwanted pet population…

"Shelter intake has gone down 75% since we opened in 1994."

She says that’s happened even as the population of Asheville has increased.Martin hopes to work with local animal control officers to spread the word about SAAF House…

"Because, as the animal control offers are out making their calls, they're going to be referring people who they can see need our services to our clinic, so they're really going to be an important component of the clinic."

The clinic will initially be open only to Greene and Christian County residents but Martin says they plan to eventually expand their service area.SAAF is currently working to raise money to pay operating expenses for the first few months of the clinic, which is expected to open in April or May. For details, http://www.saaf2018.org.