Area veterinarians are starting the Vets for Pets foundation and planning to open a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Killeen for U.S. Highway 190 corridor residents in March.
“It is a project that both vets in Bell and Coryell counties are undertaking,” said Michael Joyner, a veterinarian at East Lake Veterinary Center in Killeen. “This whole deal is an all vet board, owned and operated.”
Once it opens, the program will provide spay and neuter services to pet owners who need assistance to pay the cost of the operations as well as animal shots, Joyner said.
“We are hoping that it is going to offer low-cost spay and neuters to people who need a little help and decrease the pet population,” said Pat Davis, a veterinarian at El Centro Pet Medical in Killeen, who also is part of the foundation. “There is a problem here in Killeen and throughout the region with young and unwanted animals.”
The service is needed in the area and the veterinarians who have started the foundation decided they would be the best ones to operate such a facility, Joyner said.
People are traveling to Waco or Austin for these services, which can be damaging to the animal if there are complications, Davis said.
Additionally, there are several out-of-town organizations that perform shot programs here now, Joyner said. There have been times when pet owners would bring their animals to my office and I can’t contact those organizations because the number doesn’t work or no one answers.
This clinic, which will be open two days a week, should eliminate the need for long drives and allow veterinarians and pet owners to contact someone right away if there are problems, Davis said.
The area’s participating veterinary clinics will rotate doctors to perform surgeries, and pet owners can go to those veterinarians if there is a problem or have another clinic call, Joyner said.
The foundation will conduct operations at the After Hours Veterinary Services clinic. However, it is still setting up its nonprofit status and seeking additional funding.
There are a lot of grants available for operations like this, Joyner said. They may be tailored to a specific animal, such as spaying feral cats, so the organization is going to need to ensure it uses the money carefully.
As its operations get under way, the foundation will probably start asking for community help by taking donations and conducting fundraisers, Joyner said.
Another goal for the organization is to start working with local animal shelters to help treat some of those animals, Davis said.
By lowering the number of unwanted animals, the foundation also would lower euthanasia rates at shelters, she said. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could be a city or town that didn’t have this unwanted animal problem?”
The group wouldn’t say how many veterinarians are joining the foundation, but it includes animal doctors from Temple to Copperas Cove, Davis and Joyner said.
“I think this is going to be a very positive and wonderful program that we are putting out for the community. I hope to see it grow,” Davis said.