Team effort

11/23/2013

Vets in position to be part of a positive fix.

Vets in position to be part of a positive fix.

A local veterinarian was correct when he said too many pet owners let their dogs and cats run loose.

Local vet Eric Tuller said when it comes to the unwanted pet population, the biggest issue in his opinion is pet owners violating local leash laws.

Irresponsible pet owners do indeed let their dogs and cats run loose and multiply.

But when asked about another proven strategy to control the pet population, Tuller also said he didn't agree with a mobile, low-cost spay and neuter clinic in town recently because he questioned the quality of the service.

An anonymous complaint to the state — reportedly from a local vet — led to the cancellation of a second visit of the Spay Today Mobile Outreach clinic operated by a Colorado veterinarian who offers the service at reduced cost in communities with a pressing need.

Response to the first mobile clinic earlier this month in Garden City was so overwhelming a return visit was scheduled sooner than anticipated.

The complaint that scuttled those plans centered on the need for a $75 state license and inspection of areas used to provide the service. The issues are being addressed.

Speculation also centered on local vets possibly viewing the discounted service as unwanted competition.

The spay-and-neuter clinic was organized by the Finney County Humane Society, which not only works to see more dogs and cats adopted, but also on ways to prevent a flood of animals to the local shelter.

While they're fighting an uphill battle — far too many adoptable pets still are put down in numbers that exceed what's expected in a community this size — the FCHS rightly attacks the problem from multiple angles, ranging from education to providing more opportunities to get animals sterilized.

Local veterinarians should consider what more could be done on their end to promote spay and neuter services. Vets who offer discounts could make new connections with local pet owners who otherwise wouldn't seek veterinary care because of the cost.

Everyone involved should push for such positive steps toward fixing a problem that demands cooperation, not more conflict.

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