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Clinic goal: Increase spay, neuter

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Open house

Hope for Animals, 1333 Maycrest Drive, will host an open house 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 31.

For more information, call 420-SPAY (420-7729).

Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 10:40 am

Area pet owners are about to have a new option for spaying and neutering, as well as getting vaccinations at a low cost.

Hope for Animals, a nonprofit clinic tailored to take care of these pet needs, will open June 1.

Executive Director Madeleine Laird explained that the clinic targets a population in the community that is underserved. Laird, who became interested in the project after working at Allen County Animal Care and Control, ran a rescue operation for unwanted pets for a year and a half. She came to realize she could never save enough pets. There are just too many.

“For every 70,000 pets, there are 10,000 people,” said Laird. She hopes that by offering spaying and neutering at a low cost, eventually there will be a decrease in the number of animals that need homes.

She and her nonprofit organization were able to get a startup grant of $85,000 from PetSmart Charities, and a local donor gave them $30,000.

Parkview Hospital donated the building space, which was a former outpatient surgery clinic off Lake Avenue at 1333 Maycrest Drive. Individual businesses and people in the community have donated and continue to donate to the clinic.

After looking at several spay and neuter clinics, Laird modeled Hope for Animals after the Humane Alliance.

That organization, based in Asheville, N.C., gives training to nonprofits that fit their qualifications, and Hope for Animals does. Laird will travel to Asheville later this month for training and upon her return, workers from the Humane Alliance will spend two weeks here helping the clinic to get up and running.

The Humane Alliance has neutered as many as 125 animals in one day. Once Hope for Animals is open, the plan is to spay and neuter 35 animals a day for each veterinarian. Currently only one full-time veterinarian is on staff; there are six other employees. The clinic would like to add more volunteer vets.

Although equipment is still arriving, Hope for Animals has hosted a low-cost clinic to vaccinate cats.

Another for dogs will be Saturday, and all 100 spots are full. There will be another vaccination clinic June 5.

Reservations are being taken for spaying and neutering starting June 1.

Laird stressed they will not treat sick animals and the clinic is offering only a low-cost alternative for pet owners who can't afford to vaccinate, or spay and neuter their pets.