FixAPet offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for pets
CLARK COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - More than 24,000. That’s how many spay/neuter surgeries have been done at one western Wisconsin Humane Society. What started as a service for shelter pets has expanded to a low-cost service for community pets.
FixAPet is a low-cost spay/neuter program for cats, dogs and rabbits. The program at the Clark County Humane Society near Neillsville is open to anyone from anywhere. FixAPet Program Coordinator Cheri Wegner says it started out of necessity.
“Working in the shelter, we had so many surrenders of kittens and animals coming in that we could not possible keep up, and we felt the way to really try to address the problem was spaying and neutering,” said Cheri Wegner.
In 2007, CCHS started its own clinic to spay and neuter shelter pets before they were adopted. To meet the demand for public surgeries, the shelter raised money to build a new wing in 2016 with a large surgery room and an exam room.
“We tried to make it very home feeling. So people would come in, and be very comfortable leaving their pets here for surgery, and we have found that it really has worked well,” said Cheri Wegner.
With limited low cost options and few shelters able to offer surgeries to non shelter pets, people drive hundreds of miles from other states to utilize the program, according to CCHS Executive Director Chuck Wegner.
“We always emphasize, we are not a full service clinic. We don’t pretend to be. We provide what the basic needs of the animals are. Spay/neuter, vaccination, boosters, some blood work, fecal tests,” he said.
Spay/neuter surgeries are scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and range from $65 to $100. There can be additional charges depending on the pet’s size. Vaccinations happen on Mondays and Fridays starting at $12.
“People are so appreciative that they’re able to care for their pets in a manner they can afford,” said the program coordinator.
FixAPet has seen two big additions recently. Earlier this year, a new software program was launched allowing people to go online and make their own appointments. Nearly one year ago, Dr. Ben Selvaraj moved to Wisconsin from Australia to become FixAPet’s full-time veterinarian after the program’s previous vet retired. He’s originally from India but grew up in Australia.
Dr. Ben owned a veterinary practice in Sydney for more than 20 years. He sold that practice, and his wife found an ad online for the FixAPet job. Even though he had no idea where Neillsville or Clark County were located.
“No, I had never heard of it,” said Dr. Ben Selvaraj.
Dr. Ben says he thought working for a humane society sounded interesting, so he reached out to Wegner.
“I like rural areas where people are more friendly,” he said.
“A lot of human doctors are from other countries too, and that’s worked fine for decades. I thought, why not?” said Chuck Wegner.
With Dr. Ben’s arrival and the help of another vet and a tech, between 18 and 20 spay/neuter surgeries can be done in a day. Specialized surgeries for shelter pets are also being done.
“We get some really unique cases that come into the shelter. Animals that really need help, and we can now provide those services on site where in the past we would have taken them to Appleton or Madison probably, and we’re able to do some of those things here so we are very happy and very grateful to have him here,” said Cheri Wegner.
While FixAPet’s number one priority is still spaying and neutering the shelter pets before they get adopted, staff members say they’re happy to be able to offer this low-cost service to anyone in need.
“We have great people working here. Everybody takes really good care of the animals, and we’re just really happy to be making a difference,” said Cheri Wegner.
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