A new, low-cost veterinary clinic is trying to bridge the gap for individuals and families who love their pets but have a hard time finding routine veterinary services, like yearly rabies vaccines and spay and neuter surgeries that they can afford.
The Coastal Community Veterinary Clinic was established two months ago to offer low-cost spay and neuter services and routine veterinary care, Liberty Humane Shelter Director Sandra Frye said. The fully equipped spay-and-neuter mobile clinic is a joint venture of the shelter and M.O.M.S. Animal Rescue. Dr. Rachel Peeples, formerly of Liberty Veterinary Clinic, is CCVC’s veterinarian. The clinic unit is parked outside the shelter at 279 Briarwood Circle, off Airport Road in Hinesville. Clinic hours for vaccines and minor health issues are from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
“We’re here to help those in the community that need it,” Frye said.
Keeping pets healthy and disease-free also is a public health issue, Peeples and Frye agreed, as evidenced last week by a news report that a Flemington family was preventively treated for rabies after their dog tested positive for the fatal disease. In addition, public-health officials warned that the family’s cat, which was behaving aggressively and could be rabid, escaped Wednesday into the woods near Cook Road.
Studies have shown that communities that have low-cost spay-and-neuter clinics are able to reduce their number of stray animals and help decrease overpopulation in animal shelters, Peeples said.
Clinic staffers also intend to apply for grants to fund efforts to trap and spay/neuter feral cats before release to help control the local feral-cat population, according to Peeples.
Clinic organizers also hope to begin holding off-site vaccination clinics on Saturdays in outlying communities, she said. These mobile clinics will meet pet owners “halfway,” Peeples said, by helping those residents who live on fixed incomes and have limited transportation take proper care of their animals.
Frye said the next closest low-cost vet clinics are in Jacksonville and Ridgeland, S.C., and they’ve had pet owners from outside Liberty County use their services.
The shelter manager stressed the clinic is not equipped for emergency care, but is working to add dental and X-ray services. The clinic provides blood-work services, wellness exams, pre- and post-op exams, low-cost euthanasia for animals that are old and infirm, and cremation services, she said.
“We’re here for all the right reasons,” Frye said.
Another local pet rescue group, Carpathia PAWS, strives to reduce pet overpopulation and find permanent homes for adoptable pets, as well as fostering homeless animals until they can be matched with the right families.
“We would like to get a group of people together to help Carpathia PAWS cat rescue with our goal of lessening the overpopulation problem in our area,” said Sarah Crawford, who heads the all-volunteer organization. “(We need) people who can commit their time and gas and a little money to feed the feral colonies and set out traps the night before low-cost spay-and-neuter transport and bring them to our transport meeting area in Hinesville twice monthly for spay/neuter and then re-release. Also, to keep an eye out for any young kittens in these colonies that is (manageable) enough to take in and socialize and vet for adoption.”
Carpathia PAWS volunteer Jennifer Buehler said the organization has grown over the past few months, crediting the group’s expansion to resident Paul Krebs’s generosity.
“Paul has graciously offered his property and a large trailer on Airport Road to Carpathia PAWS to use as a temporary rescue site,” Buehler said. “This has enabled Carpathia PAWS to rescue more dogs from (Liberty County) Animal Control and have a safe and secure environment to house, treat and socialize them, while they wait for their ‘forever’ homes.”
She added that the organization also vaccinates the animals they take in.
Carpathia PAWS partners with Petsense in Hinesville on adoption events at the store once or twice each month, according to Buehler.
“Since partnering with Petsense in November 2012, Carpathia PAWS has adopted (out) 219 cats and kittens through the adoption events, as well as through social-networking sites like Facebook, to loving homes,” she said.
Residents interested in helping Carpathia PAWS can email Crawford at email@example.com. Petsense has a donation booth for cat and dog food until Dec. 24, Crawford added. Donations will be split between the Animal Refuge Foundation, Carpathia PAWS, animal control and the shelter, she said.
Adopting a pet
Residents considering adopting a cat or dog should understand the responsibility of pet ownership before committing to it, Frye and Buehler said.
“I’ve never been a fan of ‘gifting’ animals,’” Frye said.
The shelter manager said she has found those types of situations usually don’t work out. She and Buehler advise that individuals and families come to meet pets up for adoption, to see if they match up. Frye said families with other pets might also want to bring those animals along for a “meet and greet” to introduce them to a potential new canine or feline family member.
They also suggest potential dog owners study different breeds to understand the energy level and behavior of certain breeds before adopting a pet.
“For example, Great Danes or border collies are not ideal for apartment living,” Buehler said. “They need room to run and be exercised. Also, consider the age of the pet. Puppies need a lot of work and attention. Ask questions from members of the adopting organization — they know the pets’ personalities and can help the family find the right pet for them. Finally, adopting from a shelter in the long run is less expensive than adopting from a breeder and saves a life. Adoption fees cover (costs of) spaying and neutering and shots needed for the year.”
For more information on Carpathia PAWS, email Buehler at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 912-980-2260 or go to carpathiapaws.com.
For more information on Liberty Humane Shelter or Coastal Community Veterinary Clinic, call 912-448-2282 or go to libertyhumaneshelter.com or Coastal Community Veterinary Clinic on Facebook.