A crowd gathered at the corner of West Avenue A and North Park Street in Killeen on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the county’s first low-cost preventive care vet clinic — Emancipet.

Amy Mills, Emancipet CEO, said a mobile clinic has been traveling to Killeen about once a week since March 2012, but the organization saw a great need in the community for a permanent clinic.

“The demand is always so high in Killeen,” she said. “Every time we brought in a mobile clinic we would sell out in 24 hours. So, we really felt the need to establish a greater presence here.”

The clinic, at 208 W. Avenue A, offers services including spaying and neutering of cats and dogs, vaccinations, microchipping, deworming and nail trimming.

“Our mission is to make spay and neuter services and preventable veterinary care affordable to everybody,” Mills said. “We open clinics like this in communities that have limited access to services to people who can’t afford them. We’re really here for the people who can’t afford market-rate veterinary care, but love their pets just as much.”

Mills said with the clinic’s permanent presence in the community, she hopes to see a decline in the number of homeless pets.

“What we find is that in communities that don’t have access to services like this, the number of homeless pets that end up at the animal shelters is higher,” she said. “We want to make sure every single animal is as healthy as they possibly could be, and that they don’t contribute to the unwanted population.”

Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin said the clinic will fill a great need, not only in the community but in the greater Killeen area.

“Our pet population will be much happier and healthier because of this organization’s presence here,” he said.

Lou Guyton, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals communications director, said after working with Emancipet for several years, ASPCA wanted to join Mills and her team to show their support.

“The ASPCA has been working with Emancipet for several years on a variety of projects,” she said. “It’s such a big step to bring it to a new community that we wanted to make sure to show our support.”

The clinic will begin operations Tuesday. It will be open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Mills said spaying and neutering is by appointment only but for all other services walk-ins are welcome.

For more information about Emancipet, go to emancipet.org.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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