New clinic aims to lower overpopulation in Midlands' shelters - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New clinic aims to lower overpopulation in Midlands' animal shelters

COLUMBIA (WIS)- A new effort is underway to help combat overpopulation in animal shelters in the Midlands.

After years of planning, a high-volume spay/neuter clinic opened to the public this week at Pawmetto Lifeline's new facility off of Bower Parkway in Harbison.

"[I'm] almost in disbelief," said Tracy Johnson, the director of the spay/neuter clinic. "We've been working on this so hard, for so long and all of the planning has been worth it."

According to Johnson, the goal of the clinic is to provide high-quality care for pets at an affordable price. She says the clinic was recently certified by the Humane Alliance out of Asheville, making it the only NSNRT (National Spay/Neuter Response Team) certified clinic in the Midlands. "They are known as the gold standard for high-quality and high-volume spay and neuter," said Johnson. "It's a selective process [and] they've chosen us as one of their partner organizations."

Statistics show that nearly 21,000 homeless pets enter Midlands shelters each year, and nearly 18,000 animals are euthanized because of overpopulation. Johnson says she believes the opening of this new high-volume clinic will help reduce those numbers. "Other communities that [opened a high-volume clinic] have seen their euthanasia rates drop to as low as 30 percent," said Johnson. "Currently in the Midlands [the euthanasia rate] is between 86 percent and 90 percent, so we are looking at making a very strong, very large impact on that euthanasia rate very quickly."

Fees for the surgeries will be based on a sliding scale according to income, and some pet owners may even qualify for free services.

Officials at the Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic say they hope to perform at least 42 surgeries a day and close to 30,000 a year.

In addition to spay and neuter surgeries, the clinic says they will also offer vaccines and microchips with the surgery. To schedule an appointment call (803) 465-9100, and for more information visit www.pawmettolifeline.org

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