“A dog's quality of life is better when they have been spayed or neutered,” said Mike Meluskey, AWC board president. “It gets rid of certain health threats. The boys don't roam and die from cars hitting them or other dangers.”
He added the center took in around 4,000 animals last year and had to put down around 3,000 because of overpopulation.
Meluskey said the center wants to make it affordable and easy for people to walk up and drop off their animals for the procedure and come back around four hours later to pick up their pet.
The funds to operate the mobile unit will come from donations.
The unit made its debut Aug. 25 at the AWC Flea Market in Estate Richmond, where 25 animals were spayed and neutered. Saturday the mobile unit was at the Agricultural Fairgrounds where 15 animals were operated on.
Pet owners scheduled the procedure ahead of time, then dropped off their pets at the east end of the fairgrounds. The animals were prepped and put in numbered pet carriers volunteers had lined up in the shade. Dr. Laura Bailey did the procedures, which took took about 30 minutes each, then the animal were observed in the unit.They were then transferred outside where volunteers watched over them through recovery.
Meluskey said the used mobile unit was donated by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to the St. Thomas Humane Society and Lucky Paws Foundation. The Humane Society opened a new Humane Care Campus on Weymouth Rhymer Highway on St. Thomas and there wasn't a need for the mobile unit, so they donated it to AWC and its partner, the FiXiT Foundation. The FiXiT Foundation is an organization dedicated to ending pet euthanasia due to overpopulation.
“We're excited to bring the mobile spay and neuter service to the fairgrounds,” said Dr. Kellie Heckman, director of the AWC's spay and neuter program.
“It will make it easier for pet owners to spay and neuter their pets to help eliminate euthanasia due to pet overpopulation by bringing the program to popular locations on the island.”
She added the unit will be hitting the road again in a couple of weeks, but the location hasn't been determined.
The FiXiT Foundation was established to eliminate the dependence on euthanasia in the U.S. The organization hosts “The Final FiX” in St. Croix to determine the best way to approach the lack of spaying or neutering pets in some populations.
More information is online at www.fixit-foundation.org.
Those interested in making an appointment or volunteering can call the Spay-Neuter Program director at 1-340-626-2909.
Founded in 1973, the non-profit St. Croix Animal Welfare Center promotes the humane treatment of animals in the St Croix community through education, encouragement and enforcement. Readers can learn more about the group's programs and services by visiting its website at www.StCroixAWC.org. Information about adoption and Pets From Paradise can call 1-340-778-1650.