By Amanda Amsel
Many westside residents have noticed an influx of stray cats roaming the Hilltop and Westgate area. A new spay and neuter clinic recently opened to try to fight this issue.
The Ohio Spay and Neuter Clinic, also know as Shelter Outreach Services of Ohio (SOS of Ohio), opened a new clinic on June 17 at 3121 W. Broad St. in Columbus.
“We are a non-profit clinic that solely does spay and neutering of dogs, cats and rabbits,” said executive medical director Melanie Dehaan. “Our goal is to reduce the homeless animal population in Columbus by offering affordable spay and neutering services.”
Founded in 2007, this is the second clinic SOS of Ohio has opened in Columbus. They also have a clinic at 691 East Dublin Granville Road and offer their services to the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center.
The reason organizers chose to open a new clinic in the Hilltop/Westgate neighborhood was the recent influx they have noticed of stray and feral cats.
“We have seen a very high number of free roaming cats in this area,” Dehaan said. “There has also been a high request in this area for public assistance to help pet owners spay and neuter their dogs, cats and rabbits. Based on this data, we thought this was the perfect location to open a new clinic.”
Currently, the clinic only offers spay and neuter services by appointment for owners and walk-ins for stray animals. However, by 2015 they plan to offer a complete low-cost wellness clinic for pets and strays.
The cost to have your pet spayed or neutered is said to be lower than other veterinarians.
“If you go to a private practice it can cost anywhere from $200 to $400,” Dehaan said. “Our costs range from $10 to $110 depending on the owner’s financial situation.”
The clinic offers discounts for owners that are on welfare or social security and also offers reduced prices for owners who are not on government assistance.
According to Dehaan, the typical cost to neuter a cat is $40 and $55 to spay, to neuter a dog the cost is $75 and $85 to spay.
If your animal has not been vaccinated, the clinic would also do the vaccines for a reduced cost. Usually those vaccines cost between $7 and $10.
“In Columbus there is an estimated half a million stray animals out on the streets and the majority of those are on the Westside,” Dehaan said. “We plan on spaying and neutering 70 animals a day, so we hope we can help reduce the population of homeless animals.”
After the stray cats are spayed or neutered, they stay at the clinic for the night and then are returned to the streets. While they still end up on the streets, organizers say at least they cannot have more kittens that will also end up on the streets.
“With the opening of this clinic there is no reason people should not get their pets spayed or neutered,” Dehaan said. “Taking care of this is in the best interest of your animal and our community. It also is very affordable.”
To make an appointment to get your pet spayed or neutered, visit www.sosohio.org.