Welfare for Animals Guild of Sequim and Center Valley Animal Rescue of Quilcene worked together to offer free spay and neuter clinics to the Hoh and Makah reservations.
Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG) president Barb Brabant and WAG operations manager Mel Marshall joined with Center Valley Animal Rescue (CVAR) director/founder Sara Penhallegon and Robert Heck of CVAR to fund and host the clinics on Nov. 4 and Nov. 18. A group of 25 volunteers worked to help the project, a group that included nine veterinarians combined from Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Pierce counties.
WAG and CVAR have urged the spaying and neutering of pets to control overpopulation. WAG has rescued several generations of puppies from the Hoh Indian Reservation on the Hoh River.
“The logistics of the two weekends were quite demanding,” Marshall said.
All supplies, medicines and equipment were trucked out to the reservations ahead of the scheduled dates to set up the clinics. Organizers said extensive efforts were made to find and trap feral animals, which included two small puppies found without their mother along the Hoh River.
Lester Fisher with the Hoh Indian Tribe was key, organizers said, as Fisher knew all the names of the animals and owners who live there.
The night before the Hoh clinic, a powerful storm blew in and the power went out. Luckily, organizers said, most of the veterinarians brought head lamps, and a generator was set up to heat water to sterilize equipment.
Volunteers arrived early to assist with check-in, sterilizing equipment, filling syringes, prepping for surgery, recovery area and sending the animals home with their owners. The power came on just as it was getting light and they were able to spay and neuter over 60 animals that day.
“This was a huge undertaking and a great success,” Brabant said. “Not only were all the scheduled dogs and cats spayed or neutered, but they were also vaccinated and treated for fleas.”
CVAR took home two litters of kittens that needed medical attention. WAG brought home two puppies as well as a very pregnant beagle mix who a week later delivered eight healthy puppies.
The second clinic, held at the larger Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, saw a volunteer turnout of five veterinarians, a veterinarian technician and several volunteers.
As with the previous clinic, WAG and CVAR representatives went out the day before to prep the clinic. Terri McQuillen of Neah Bay was a huge help with the logistics, organizers said, and it was a success with the spaying and neutering and vaccinating of 78 dogs and cats.
“We came together as a team and did an amazing thing; thank you to everyone who helped make this effort possible,” Penhallegon said.
Between both clinics, more than 130 spay and neuters and about 300 vaccines were distributed.
“This is a project we have wanted to do for years,” Marshall said.
“Something must be done to stop the births of unwanted puppies and kittens.”
Kathy Coakley of WAG noted that of the 95 females that were spayed, each would have had at a minimum of six per litter.
“That makes 570 fewer puppies/kittens that are born into our counties,” Coakley said. “If you calculate the pyramid and numbers of litters, each female can potentially have the numbers reach thousands very quickly.”
Said Penhallegon, “These are our first steps toward a more encompassing program aimed at controlling the overpopulation of pets. As you can imagine, this was an expensive undertaking for both WAG and CVAR.”
Both WAG and CVAR are looking for donations to continue their mission to provide spay and neuter clinics.
For more information about the organizations, see wagsequimwa.com and centervalleyanimalrescue.org.