Less than a year after moving to its new west Visalia facility, the Valley Oak SPCA Low-Cost Clinic is in need of a new doctor. For the past month, the clinic has ceased offering vaccination and spay/neuter surgeries to the public, due to the lack of a veterinarian.
“We’re in the process of trying to find and hire a new one,” said Kelly Austin, administrative services manager.
A task that is not easy, Austin said.
Finding a veterinarian who is willing to stand and perform routine surgery all day is difficult, she said.
“Veterinarians go into private practice to do a multitude of things,” she said, not just spay and neuter animals.
This is compounded by finding someone who wants to, or is willing to, relocate to the Central Valley.
“We thought we had someone, but he chose to take a position at the Coast,” Austin said.
The Visalia clinic normally offers its low-cost vaccinations and microchipping services weekday mornings, and spay and neuter services five days a week by appointment. It also provides spay and neuter surgery for feral cats with no appointment needed. But all of this has come to a halt, for now.
“We are hoping that someone will hear our plea,” Austin said.
While the lack of a staff veterinarian is also a major inconvenience and can be costly to the VOSPCA shelter, it does not affect the animal care there. VOSPCA provides shelter for the cities of Visalia and Dinuba animal control.
Potential adoptable dogs and cats are being shuttled to Fresno’s Halt Overpopulation with Prevention and Education (HOPE’s) spay and neuter clinic. Other medical services are currently being provided through local veterinarians.
“It’s tight,” Austin said, “It makes everything on a tight budget, because it’s not being done in-house, but they (the animals) are being taken care of and that is the important thing.”
In 2013, the VOSPCA clinic altered 5,351 animals, gave 16,334 vaccinations and microchipped 601 pets, according to its annual report. Each year, the goal is to increase these numbers to help provide proper care for pets in the community.
The VOSPCA clinic is located at 9405 W. Goshen (just west of Plaza Drive in the Sequoia Business Park). When operating, it provides dog and cat vaccinations from 9am-Noon, Monday-Friday, and spay or neuter surgeries by appointment, Monday-Friday. Animals must be at least two months of age and weigh three pounds, or more, to be eligible for surgery. For more information, call (559) 741-1121, or call (559) 741-0492, to setup a spay or neuter appointment.
The VOSPCA shelter is located at 29010 Highway 99 and is open Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am-6pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9am-5pm, and Sunday 12-4pm.
Adoptions are available through the shelter, with cats also available at PetsMart in Visalia and Porterville. Off-site adoption venues are held many weekends throughout the year at various locations throughout the South Valley.
For more information call (559) 651-1111 or visit vospca.org.