EDITORIAL: Spay-Neuter Clinic Plays a Vital Role
The Spay/Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills opened with little splash. Motorists could easily ignore the modest building on U.S. 1 near Vass, were it not for a sign bearing a telephone number with a message, 692-FIXX.
The clinic has carried out sterilization procedures on thousands of dogs and cats since its opening a year ago.
The operation is so streamlined, the results so successful, that it's hard to absorb the gigantic amount of work that went into establishing the clinic. Dozens of veterinarians and other animal lovers spent hundreds of hours planning and working to achieve the finished product. Volunteers from the nonprofit Companion Animal Clinic of the Sandhills Foundation devoted time, energy, expertise and money to organize the program, raise funds, handle logistics, hire staff and work out details.
The community cannot thank them enough. It's not just Moore County either, for the clinic is designed to serve nine counties.
Long List of Pluses
Dr. Cynthia Eaton, a clinic staff veterinarian, has a long list of pluses on the side of spaying and neutering. The obvious plus is the saving of taxpayer money for the county, which is legally required to maintain a shelter for abandoned animals and spends even more money on euthanasia when those pets are not adopted.
No one likes to think about euthanizing an animal, especially a healthy one that would make a good pet, but all too frequently it is a necessity.
Dr. Eaton spells out benefits the average pet owner never considers. The neutered or spayed pet is less likely to roam and thus less likely to be struck by an automobile. The procedure may also ward off certain types of cancer. The pet owner saves money on veterinary expenses and saves the family heartache.
It's not a free clinic by any means. The foundation subsidizes the work, and the pet owner pays a fee considerably lower than the fee charged at a private veterinary clinic. The subsidy makes it possible for low-income people to afford the procedure. Cost is a primary reason cited when people are asked why they don't have pets spayed or neutered.
A Boon to Pets and Owners
Isn't this taking business away from private veterinarians? Not at all, according to clinic leaders. For one thing, several foundation board members are veterinarians who say they make little profit from the procedures. Clinic operations free private veterinarians to pursue more profitable services. In fact, a behind-the-scenes report indicates that veterinarians already provide huge amounts of free service and welcome the clinic.
The clinic has so many advantages that it's hard to believe it lacks activity at times, but it needs business to balance the books. Fees charged to pet owners cover no more than the basic cost of each procedure, and the clinic relies on those payments to cover its daily overhead. The foundation has provided funds to equip and staff the clinic and continues to raise funds, but the clinic needs a daily infusion of patients to maintain its success.
A grateful community needs to support the clinic with contributions and by spreading the word that the Spay/Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills is a boon to the pocketbook and to the health and well-being of our pets and of our community.
Dr. Eaton's final plus: It's proof you love your pet.
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