SPCA Tampa Bay
I’d like to thank PCVMA for the opportunity to speak to the membership for a few minutes, at our last meeting, regarding spay/neuter. When we opened our hospital in St. Pete in late 2016, one of our primary goals was to provide a mission driven business that helped focus on the continued problem of homeless and unwanted pets. Around 20,000 animals enter Pinellas County shelters each year, and several thousand are euthanized as a result of disease and lack of space.
Organized high volume spay/neuter has a direct effect on this problem, and SPCA Tampa Bay is proud to be one of the providers in our county. In 2017 we performed about 2100 surgeries on public owned cats and dogs, and in 2018 we performed just over 2800 surgeries (mostly on a 3 day a week schedule). In addition, we have a separate purpose built holding room for feral (community) cats, and have performed several hundred sterilizations each year. We work directly with individual citizens, but also provide TNVR days for the larger groups that can bring in 20-30 cats at a time.
For 2019, we have been awarded the PetSmart Charities Spay/Neuter Grant, and we’ve now added a 4th day to our weekly schedule to support those patients with $10 surgeries, with the goal of performing an additional 1000 surgeries on top of our normal business. Clients must have provable financial need, and are still required to update their rabies vaccine status and tag (extra cost), if not current.
Many of our clients don’t typically have regular veterinarians, and we get some clients driving from other counties, sometimes driving 1-2 hours to bring pets in for surgery. Some clients have existing relationships with local veterinarians, and in most cases if we find evidence or issues with the pets, our conversation is always steered at having the client return to their own vet to pursue treatment (lots of skin, ear, and dental problems, as you might guess). Our focus in spay/neuter is exactly that, to keep prices reasonable, so we do not deviate from that mission by doing other procedures (like extracting teeth, removing masses or fixing hernias). Again, we usually refer people back to their regular veterinarian for procedures such as those. Lastly, we only admit pets that are reasonably healthy, under the age of 6. Our veterinarian (that’s me) can decline a surgery the day of exam, if something concerning is found.
Business is growing due to word of mouth and positive reviews, but we of course deeply appreciate referrals from the PCVMA community, and are honored to have that trust. We respect the relationships you have built with your clients and have focused our efforts on one specific aspect of animal welfare management, while hopefully preserving your long term relationships.
If you have any questions about our service, please don’t hesitate to contact me at our Veterinary Center, in St. Petersburg.
Rizal Lopez, DVM
Spay/Neuter Services Program Director
SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center
12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774