Columbia animal advocacy group plans to open spay-and-neuter clinic

Thursday, January 24, 2013 | 11:50 p.m. CST; updated 10:16 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 26, 2013

*An earlier version of this article included an incorrect description of how stray cats and dogs would be served by the clinic.

COLUMBIA — No Kill Columbia, an animal advocacy group, is teaming up with a national nonprofit to try to build a spay-and-neuter clinic in Columbia.

No Kill Columbia announced Monday that it is now a part of the Humane Alliance’s National Spay and Neuter Response Team. Humane Alliance already has multiple clinics open throughout the country. It works with veterinarians and shelters to prevent overpopulation of dogs and cats.

Humane Alliance's clinics have made euthanasia nearly extinct at nearby shelters, said Melissa Kron, No Kill Columbia's treasurer.

It would cost the Columbia group about $100,000 to open the clinic, Kron said. The group has three fundraisers planned for this year and hopes to open the clinic by the end of the year. 

Once the clinic opens, Humane Alliance will train its employees for free and bring staff members to Columbia to help get things started, Kron said. 

The clinic would be high volume and low cost, with a goal of spaying and neutering 33 dogs and cats each day within a few months of opening, Kron said.

Jane Ebben, a senior veterinary technician at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, said Columbia’s shelters have an issue with overpopulation.

“We are in a crisis,” Ebben said. “Columbia Second Chance and Central Missouri Humane Society are full. The animals will have to be euthanized if they can’t make space by getting the animals out.”

The clinic will be aimed toward pet owners who cannot normally afford veterinary care. At Humane Alliance-affiliated clinics, animal owners normally pay about 45 percent of the cost of a neuter or spay at a veterinarian, Kron said.

Although there is unlikely to be an income requirement for treatment, Kron expects the clinic to draw people who otherwise could not afford a veterinarian.

The clinic will also have a transport team that will bring in animals to get spayed or neutered from smaller surrounding communities, Kron said.

The clinic hopes to employ one veterinarian, two veterinary assistants, one director, one office worker and one part-time transport driver, according to documents provided by the organization. 

*The clinic also would provide spaying and neutering for stray dogs and cats, Kron said.

"With stray cats and barn cats, it's better to fix them and let them stay in a warm, dry place," Kron said.

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