• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Hope Spay Neuter Clinic needs more volunteers

More volunteers are needed at the Hope Spay Neuter Clinic, which offers low-cost veterinarian services to help control the cat and dog populations in Woodford County and other communities. With the volume of animals taken to the nonprofit during regular clinic hours on a typical Tuesday, 15 to 17 volunteers are needed for hands-on help before staff veterinarian Dr. Lorie Fuller does surgeries, during surgeries, and after the cats and dogs are sent to recovery. "We do an average of about 23 cats and 15 dogs (on Tuesdays) so it's a very busy day," said volunteer coordinator Mindy Fiala. She said spay ($30 for cats, $60 for dogs) and neuter ($30 for cats, $50 for dogs) surgeries begin at about 8:45 in the morning and continue until about 2:30 p.m., with recovery lasting until about 4 to 6 p.m. In addition to its regular hours every Tuesday, Hope Spay Neuter Clinic has special clinic days (usually on Thursdays) for free-roaming cats beginning in February and continuing through November. For a cost of $35, a cat - often with the help of its caretaker - is vaccinated, neutered or spayed, and given any necessary medical treatment before being released on TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) days, Fiala said. When those efforts began around 2004, she said, "Our whole goal was to stop the breeding out there, which would in turn help our humane society." Because one unaltered female and its offspring can produce thousands of cats, Fiala said those efforts have helped reduce the cat population here and other communities in the area. "It's made a huge impact in Woodford County. Just go ask our humane society," she said. Anyone interested in volunteering, making a donation or wanting information about the services and costs offered by the nonprofit, may visit the Hope Spay Neuter Center website at hopespayneuter.org. "What we have (going here) is a great thing. It does take manpower just like anything," said Fiala, who described the volunteers as "the heart" of Hope Spay Neuter Center. "They're the ones that really keep it going. If we didn't have our volunteers we couldn't go on," she added. "We have enough volunteers now, but there's always a need to get more people involved in what we do." She would love for more young-adult volunteers to join the clinic's ongoing efforts to control the cat and dog populations, which would also give her most dedicated volunteers "a break here and there." John Myers started volunteering with the nonprofit Hope Spay Neuter Center after seeing the dedication of its volunteers, whom he described as a wonderful group of people helping to prevent cat and dog overpopulation in Kentucky. The only "pay" these unpaid volunteers receive for a long day's work is a lunch donated by local eateries including Addie's and Napa Prime. The contributions of restaurants show there are many ways to support a nonprofit like Hope Spay Neuter Clinic, said Fiala. A mentor offers hands-on training to anyone who wants to volunteer, with various opportunities (both medical and non-medical) to help out. "We just want to see more people get involved, she said.

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