Low-cost spay and neuter clinic becoming a reality

Published 9:39 am Friday, March 24, 2023

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Star Correspondent
Representatives from the city of Elizabethton and the Friends of the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter officially signed an agreement Thursday to develop a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
In February, Elizabethton City Council unanimously approved a 20-year lease agreement to allow the Friends group to build a clinic on land adjacent to the animal shelter on Sycamore Shoals Drive. The lease gives the group an option to extend the agreement.
With more than 25,000 cats and dogs in Carter County, Friends group Chairman Michael Barnett said there is a need for a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in the community. More than 85% of the county’s cats and dogs are not spayed or neutered, he said.
If not fixed, in four years, one single mating pair of dogs in the county and their offspring can produce more than 2,000 more dogs and puppies, Barnett said.
The clinic, which will be funded by operating revenues and fundraising efforts, will be staffed by a paid full-time veterinarian, a veterinary technician and a receptionist. In addition, the group plans to bring in volunteer veterinarians.
Clinic staff will provide low-cost spay and neuter services, vaccinations, microchips and flea and heartworm treatments.
Barnett said the goal is to soon install a driveway onto the property, which will be followed by the construction of the building. The group has been obtaining estimates for the project.
“We’re hoping to do something this year,” said Barnett, who added that the group continues to raise funds for the project.
The group plans to raise funds with a golf tournament, a concert featuring Carson Peters and other events throughout the year.
Councilman Mike Simerly said the spay and neuter clinic should cut down the local dog and cat population.
Barnett added that the clinic should also help population issues at the nearby animal shelter. It could also help with budget concerns and staff members working long hours, he said.
Currently, local residents must go to the animal shelter in Johnson City or the Margaret Mitchell Spay and Neuter Clinic. Many people, Barnett said, are unable to drive to those clinics to have their pets treated. He said many also struggle paying for clinic visits.
The citizens of Elizabethton appreciate the Friends group’s efforts, Elizabethton Mayor Pro Tem Bill Carter said.
With the community’s support, Barnett said he expects the project to be completed quickly. Donations can be made at feccas.org.

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