MOUNT VERNON — The president of the Dogs of Knox Fund, Marla McCutchen, said Wednesday that she and her fellow board members are unanimous in urging Knox County commissioners to stay with the high quality of care for spay-and-neuter services they have come to expect from the Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic.
Last Thursday, three representatives of the Knox County Humane Society met with commissioners and proposed an offer to take over dog shelter spay-and-neuter services at a flat rate of $50 at the humane society shelter, which provides spay-and-neuter services for dogs and cats on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Their representatives said dog shelter dogs could be accommodated on Fridays, but would then need to return to the dog shelter following the procedure as they do not have overnight accommodations.
Currently, the Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic keeps shelter dogs overnight following spay-and-neuter services, and can keep a staff member on hand overnight if there are post-operative complications. The Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic is served by four veterinarians and six vet techs, Knox County Commissioners noted, while the humane society shelter has one veterinarian and one vet tech. The Fredericktown clinic charges $110 per dog, which county Dog Warden John Carhart said is well worth it given the level of care and commitment from Fredericktown staff. It is a good working relationship that has worked well and continues to do so, he told commissioners.
McCutchen said the Dogs of Knox Fund holds events throughout the year to raise funds to buy food, medicine and medical procedures for Knox County Animal Shelter dogs, while assisting with adoptions and providing volunteers who walk the dogs throughout the week except Sundays. Although the county dog shelter pays the $110 per dog for spay-and-neuter services, the Dogs of Knox Fund often provides additional medical procedures including surgeries as needed, such as dental work, eye surgeries, the removal of tumorous growths, while also providing heartworm treatments as it has for three dogs this year.
McCutchen said she is concerned about the idea of shelter dogs receiving spay-and-neuter services on a Friday from the humane society, but then returning them to the dog shelter with no one veterinarian or vet tech on hand the next day if post-operative care is necessary. There is minimal staff and volunteers at the dog shelter Saturday, and even more so Sunday.
“What if one of the dogs were to run into trouble?” she said. “Like I say, the Fredericktown vet clinic has been there for us, day and night. I just think we need to stay with a full-service facility to give these dogs the best spay-and-neuter services possible.”
If a dog ran into trouble following a post-operative procedure — and had to be taken to a veterinarian different than the one performing the procedure — the second vet would charge double what it normally does because he or she did not perform the initial procedure, McCutchen said. The Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic also performs X-rays and, if necessary, MRIs on dogs in need of detailed internal scans. Its veterinarians are often called upon by Dogs of Knox to determine if a female dog is pregnant. Some dogs enter the shelter emaciated enough that it is hard to tell, she added. With the Fredericktown clinic determining that a dog is pregnant, Dogs of Knox volunteers and dog shelter employees can go about the task of finding homes for the puppies beforehand.
“We do not want puppies to have to be born at the dog shelter,” McCutchen said.
The Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic has been known to take up to eight dogs for spay-and-neuter services at one time, usually done on Mondays and Tuesdays, not just done in one day, she offered. The dogs are allowed to stay overnight. The Fredericktown clinic has also been highly cooperative in performing more complex surgeries and doing so exceedingly well — such as a dog that had a serious ear infection and needed to have its ear canals temporarily removed. That dog recovered and was later adopted.
McCutchen said she was upset to learn that Knox County Humane Society President Randy White, on a separate topic last Thursday, told commissioners the five remaining Pittie Paw Rescue were vicious dogs that need to be put down.
“That is absolutely not true,” she said. “They are sweet dogs who are walked every day, get played with and receive love and good care.”
As Carhart had noted, she said, there were more than 60 PPR dogs taken in by the shelter starting in September of last year. Some of them that were deemed too dangerous to humans were euthanized. But the five remaining are good dogs seeking foster placements before they are taken in by other, legitimate rescue operations. Saying they are vicious is simply untrue and does no service to Dogs of Knox efforts to find them good foster placements, she said. As just one example, she said Luther — one of the five dogs, all of whom have been evaluated by two professional animal experts — was found by the animal evaluators “to be playful and friendly, with no (negative) issues.” Dogs of Knox paid for those evaluations, and they came from independent animal experts outside of Knox County.
“I have pictures of Luther kissing one of the shelter volunteers,” she offered.
McCutchen said the two women who were convicted of criminal negligence-related charges related to operating Pittie Paw Rescue had said the five dogs in question were too aggressive to be adopted — because they wanted the dogs returned to them. They should not have been listened to in describing the five remaining dogs. The two animal experts should be, as should volunteers and shelter employees who work with those dogs every day, she emphasized.
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