$95,000 grant moves Cedar Rapids spay, neuter clinic closer to opening

Clinic set for opening in January 2013, hopes to treat 8,000 animals in first year

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An effort to open a low-cost spay and neuter clinic, in the works for several years, has received a boost from a $95,000 grant.

PetSmart Charities awarded the competitive grant to assist the Iowa Humane Alliance’s Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic in Cedar Rapids, the group announced Friday.

Program Director Mary Blount said the award will be used for staff training and equipment for the facility at 6540 Sixth St. SW.

Blount said an opening date is set for Jan. 15, 2013, with a goal of 8,000 animals treated in the first year.

Building renovations that have taken longer than expected have delayed the opening from previous dates, she said, including one set for last spring.

“Our phones are ringing off the wall,” she said, noting that the clinic already has a waiting list of hundreds of animals.

Blount said the group is referring pet owners to other organizations in the meantime.

The new clinic will spay or neuter dogs, cats and rabbits from individuals, shelters and rescue organizations for costs ranging from about $30 for male cats to $80 for female dogs.

Blount said subsidies will be available for pet owners in need.

A van will eventually provide service to 41 Eastern Iowa counties — a 100-mile radius — to bring animals to the site.

The non-profit group has spent $50,000 on a down-payment to buy the clinic building, plus $80,000 on remodeling, Blount said.

Fundraisers, including a “Spay-ghetti and No Balls Dinner” set for Thursday, will continue to cover the costs of plumbing upgrades, parking lot repair and other expenses.

The PetSmart grant will be used for a $10,000 autoclave to sterilize surgical implements, cage banks, surgery tables and anesthesia equipment.

Staff will be trained at the National Spay/Neuter Response Team of the Humane Alliance in Asheville, N.C., which is mentoring the Cedar Rapids clinic.

The group also announced Friday the appointment of veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Doll of rural Solon to the position of clinic medical director.

Doll worked in a private small-animal practice near Seattle after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 1991.

She moved to Iowa in 2000, where she built her private mobile practice, which included a custom-built, 24-foot van. Doll also spent time in Utah performing surgeries at the Best Friends Sanctuary.

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