The Wisconsin Humane Society plans to open a spay/neuter clinic in Milwaukee in June 2015.
The focus of the clinic will be to provide high-quality, low-cost sterilization surgery to the general public, with a special focus on animals living in underserved areas. The goal for the first year of operation is to perform 6,000 surgeries.
The organization is looking at existing properties within a six-mile radius of their Milwaukee Campus on 45th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, with access to the public transit system and ample parking. Startup costs for the project are expected to be between $250,000 and $300,000, which the organization is raising from private, corporate and foundation donors.
“We are convinced that this is the single program with the highest potential to save animals in our region,” said Anne Reed, president and chief executive officer of WHS. “Animal overpopulation has fallen in many areas of Milwaukee and the United States, but remains a serious issue in communities that lack resources, and a significant number of dogs and cats coming into our local animal welfare agencies are from these communities.”
Milwaukee is one of the only major metropolitan communities with no high-volume spay/neuter clinic, Reed said.
“At WHS, we routinely find that surrendered animals are seldom sterilized, and in the 53206 zip code, the spay/neuter rate is just 8 percent,” said Dr. Nancy Weiss, senior director of veterinary services at WHS. “We know that there are people in our community who want their animals sterilized, but are not able to afford spay/neuter services.”
WHS is being mentored for the project by Humane Alliance’s National Spay/Neuter Response Team, a training program based in North Carolina that helps other organizations learn how to open and operate spay/neuter clinics in their communities. Humane Alliance has mentored about 130 other sites, and those clinics have spayed or neutered 3.8 million animals since 2006.
Spaying or neutering cats and dogs reduces animal overpopulation and animal homelessness. It can also reduce some behavior issues and decreases the desire of animals to roam. In addition, altered animals live longer than their unaltered counterparts, and are protected from certain types of cancer.