A stuffed dog rests on an operating table at the Yakima Humane Society Spay and Neuter Clinic Dec. 16, 2016 in Yakima, Wash. as part of the clinic’s grand opening. The clinic is the second spay and neuter clinic in Washington state. (SIERRA HUTTON/Eisenhower High School)
Local pet lovers finally received the Christmas present they’ve waited years for. On Dec. 16, the Yakima Humane Society Spay and Neuter Clinic officially opened to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Before the grand opening, the clinic held a “soft opening” earlier in the week where staff spayed and neutered its first 45 patients.
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The Spay and Neuter Clinic is run by Dr. Jennifer Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick and her team went to Asheville, N.C., for special high-volume spay and neuter veterinary training.
This is the second spay and neuter clinic in the state of Washington that follows the Humane Alliance model, a program of the ASPCA. The other is the Northwest Spay & Neuter Center in Tacoma.
Service fees are $45 for feline spaying or neutering and $70 for canine spaying or neutering, prices designed with low-income pet owners in mind. Several other services are offered for animals being spayed or neutured, including rabies vaccinations, microchipping and toenail trims.
The goal of the clinic is to provide approximately 35 spay or neuters per day. That means the staff members have to be efficient.
“Currently, I can do a spay in 11-12 minutes,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I’m trying to get it down to 6-7 minutes.”
While Fitzpatrick aims to decrease her surgery times, she says she refuses to compromise on quality of surgeries.
I was able to get a full tour with my mom and Fitzpatrick on the day of the opening. Coming from a household where we avidly rescue and save animals, I was excited to be able to get a tour of the new Spay and Neuter Clinic.
I was told the facility is participating in a “Trap-Neuter-Return” program to help decrease the population of feral and free-roaming cats in our community. TNR services will cost $25 and include the surgery, a rabies and distemper vaccine, and an ear tip. This service is offered only for feral or free-roaming cats, and the animals must come to the clinic in a humane trap, which can be rented from the Humane Society for a refundable deposit.
The new Spay and Neuter Clinic is located at 106 S. Sixth Ave. in Yakima, and can be reached at 509-426-2460.
• Sierra Hutton is a junior at Eisenhower High School and is a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for teen journalists.