The Humane Society of Faulkner County has taken action on the much-discussed issue of animal overpopulation in the county by building a spay and neuter clinic at Springhill.
Shirley Jarman of the Humane Society said, "There's nothing in the county for animals, and they're abandoned and running at large. All of the experts in the animal field say the best thing to do is prevention. To prevent animals from having offspring, the number one thing, all the experts in animal care agencies agree, is to spay and neuter."
The Humane Society has had grants for six or seven years for subsidizing spaying and neutering animals, she said. Anyone who called wanting assistance to spay or neuter an animal received a voucher for a local veterinarian.
"There were no restrictions on the grant we had. The bottom line is to get the animal fixed," she said. "Then hopefully they will have money to do other things like heartworm testing It is not a cheap prospect to take care of your animal. We felt like if we could help them get their animal fixed, they could take the money and take care of these other things."
After five or six years of providing the vouchers, the vets' offices had to reduce the amount of procedures they performed for the Humane Society, Jarman said.
"When they could no longer accommodate the number of calls we had, we knew we had to go to another source," she said. The Humane Society still supplies the vouchers, but now it can also refer residents to the Springhill Spay and Neuter Clinic.
The Humane Society received a grant to transform the building at 589 Highway 65 into a state-of-the-art spay and neuter clinic, Jarman said.
"It's wonderful knowing we're not putting this burden on the vets that were trying to help us and couldn't do it all," Jarman said. "We're still using the vets. We're primarily a spay and neuter clinic. The building is ours, the equipment is ours. It took about a year and a half of planning. We're leasing the building to the vet. It's his business. He's very involved in spay and neuter."
Animals that are spayed and neutered at the clinic can receive their annual rabies vaccination as well, but the clinic is not open to the public for vaccines at this time, Jarman said.
Dr. Eric Jayne is the veterinarian who performs the surgeries. Two vet assistants, an office manager and two part-time workers complete the staff at the clinic. Jayne said the clinic can accommodate a second veterinarian later.
"The surgery room has all the ultimate equipment that the Humane Society got through a grant. I really appreciate that it's all here," he said.
On Wednesday, he performed 12 surgeries, but he is hoping to eventually have up to 30.
Jayne moved to Arkansas from Coldfoot, Alaska, where he traveled around the state conducting spay and neuter clinics. Prior to that he had a veterinary clinic in Iowa.
He said a group called the Humane Alliance in North Carolina told the Humane Society what type of equipment to put in the clinic. Jarman said members of the Humane Society went to a spay and neuter workshop organized by the Humane Alliance.
"They're extremely organized," she said. "Their goal is to set up 200 spay and neuter clinics in the next 10 years."
She said members of the Humane Alliance came to help the Humane Society of Faulkner County get its facility running smoothly.
Jayne said the Humane Alliance spayed or neutered 26,000 animals in one year at one clinic.
"At first the situation (of animal overpopulation) seems hopeless," he said, "At some point it will hit a critical number where the number of strays will just plummet."
To reach the Springhill Spay and Neuter Clinic, call 501-679-7274.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)