Fall 2008 Newsletter

Cover Story

San Juan Animal League Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic

By Donna Ogilvie

They came in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some complained loudly. Some were visibly angry. Some were stoic. Many were resigned. Others waited patiently.

"They" were the 75 dogs who underwent spay or neuter operations at a mobile clinic sponsored by the San Juan Animal League (SJAL) in Farmington, NM from June 12 to 14, 2008..

This was first clinic of its kind held by the League here. It was staffed by Dr. Bill Pearce, veterinarian, and his technical staff from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society.

Under the Santa Fe program, the mobile van provides low-cost spay/neuter services to rural and underserved communities. This program ensures fewer unwanted puppies and kittens and improves the overall health of animals. Vaccinations for rabies, canine distemper, parvo and other common diseases are included, according to Eva Paloheimo, the coordinator of the mobile van.

Locally, the San Juan Animal League began promoting the clinic about three months in advance of the June dates, via news media, posters and other venues. The cost was $25 per dog.

Susan Neale, spay/neuter director for SJAL, said the 75 openings were filled quickly with a final waiting list of about 200 dogs.

Volunteers from the League, 4-H clubs and the community staffed the three-day clinic. They did the initial registering and tagging of dogs, took them in for weighing, assisted with van duties and then comforted and cared for the animals after surgery.

The dogs, weighing in from two to eighty pounds and representing all breeds, were checked in from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. and were ready to go home by 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. A local middle school provided an outdoor area for the van and inside operations space.

Several local businesses donated food for the workers, laundry and other services.

Neale termed the clinic a great success. "This program offered spay and neuter services at an affordable cost for people who wanted to get their dogs fixed. We feel it was money well spent especially in view of the 76% euthanasia rate in this area."

She added that owners brought their animals in on schedule and picked them up when called. Only one dog didn't show.

With the San Juan Animal League picking up the majority of the clinic cost, Neale said that another clinic, although sorely needed here, would not be possible unless sources are found for local funding.

The San Juan Animal League has been serving the San Juan County area for 33 years and is staffed solely by volunteers. In addition to offering regular spay/neuter rebates, and emergency services, the organization also sponsors eight low-cost inoculation clinics throughout the county each year.

Donna Ogilvie is the Co-President of the San Juan Animal League in Farmington, NM.

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