Duluth's Animal Allies to open low-cost spay and neuter clinic
When Animal Allies Humane Society opened its new state-of-the-art animal shelter in Duluth last spring, the nonprofit already had another goal: Ending euthanasia at the shelter.
Last year, 396 mostly healthy homeless dogs and cats in Duluth's shelters were euthanized. Although a record low, Animal Allies wanted to do better.
The new animal shelter helped by boosting adoptions. Now Animal Allies will reduce it further by opening a spay/neuter clinic Oct. 19 in Duluth's Lincoln Park to reduce the number of unwanted animals. The clinic, led by veterinarian Amanda Bruce, will spay and neuter the region's shelter animals, as well as offer the procedures free or at reduced cost to low-income households.
"We hope this gets us to zero," said Jim Filby Williams, Animal Allies executive director. "It's within sight."
The Northland Spay/Neuter Clinic, a partnership between a nonprofit and a veterinarian, is the first of its kind in Minnesota, Williams said.
"There's been tons of research," Williams said. "We know by following this proven formula, other communities have reduced shelter intake and shelter euthanasia by up to 20 to 50 percent in just a few years."
The clinic will be housed at 2002 W. Superior St., a former copy shop. Contributions will cover the $200,000 start-up costs.
Cost to spay or neuter a pet will range from $39 to $79. But through 2009, it will cost $29 to $69. That compares to the going market rate of about $350 to spay a dog and $125 to $200 to spay a cat in Duluth, Williams said.
Already, 700 people have signed up with 25 surgeries planned per day.
Households with annual incomes of less than $40,000 are eligible while those on public assistance in Carlton, Cook, Lake and southern St. Louis counties will get the procedures for free.
News of the clinic has gotten mixed reaction from local veterinarians, some of whom call it unfair competition.
But Lisa Jeanetta, a veterinarian with Dougherty Veterinary Clinic in Duluth, says it will reach people who wouldn't be able to have their pets spayed or neutered otherwise.
"There is no substitute for having a regular vet that you have a relationship with, but I think they're going to do a lot of good for the animals and people," she said.
For more information, call the clinic at (218) 623-6342 or visit www.northlandspayneuter.org after the clinic opens Oct. 19.