Oregon Outback Humane Society (OOHS) hosted a spay and neuter clinic at the Lake County Fairgrounds July 25-26, helping to control the pet and feral animal populations for those unable to afford the procedure at a veterinarian’s office.
The fourth such clinic was held in Lakeview this year in addition to three organized in Christmas Valley funded through a two-year grant. The organization was founded in 2007 because there currently is no municipal shelter in the county to care for stray dogs. Initially they focused on finding homes for animals they sheltered, but transitioned focus more towards clinical work.
“Very quickly we realized that simply sheltering stray animals wasn’t going to be a solution, and we had to take a more proactive approach to population control,” said Martina Keil, clinic and operations director for OOHS.
OOHS operates strictly on a volunteer basis with 10-15 participants at any given time, some traveling from as far as Bend and LaPine to help. The lead veterinarian for the clinics is Dr. Linx Alexanderson. Others in the community assist with trapping feral animals, Benny Morris being one of those individuals who arrived with several feral cats he had caught.
“Under Oregon state law, a dog is considered property,” explained Keil. “I think roaming dogs are a huge issue in Lake County, but it is up to the municipality to round up animals. Individuals can pick up an animal and take it to the hospital, and it will be held for 3-5 days under Oregon law depending on the situation.”
Keil explained that by instead focusing on spay and neuter programs, OOHS helps to reduce the stray and roaming populations by having fewer animals breeding. It also falls on the responsibility of residents according to Keil to ensure that pets have rabies shots and are spay or neutered.
The cost to OOHS for one spay or neuter procedure is around $75-90 per dog and $25-40 per cat, but the clinic charges less than that.
“This isn’t about competing with the local veterinary clinic,” said Keil. “We help with paperwork, transport, outreach and some small procedures, but the demand for our services is huge. People should know that this isn’t just about cheap alternatives, it’s for people who can’t afford it.”
Keil said the organization relies heavily on donations, and that people can sponsor animals that need to be fixed as a way to assist.
Under the Oregon Veterinary Practice Act, every animal requires a medical form, so much of the work of volunteers is in assisting with applications. Animals that are treated by OOHS are weighed, anesthetized, spay or neutered by a veterinarian, and provided with recovery treatment and pain medication.
Oregon Outback Humane Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information on OOHS call 877-947-5009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.