Sarah Roehm, Beth Jenkins and the rest of the team at Fixing the Boro are eager to open the doors for FTB's new spay/neuter clinic to the public—and to the animals who need them in Bulloch County.
At press time, Roehm said FTB had applied for an equipment grant through the ASPCA, and had just received word they would receive $67,000. The funds will help them purchase the most urgent supplies needed, and Roehm says the clinic will be “ready to roll” as soon as they know when those things are coming in. This will include medication costs, a washer and dryer, autoclave, surgical equipment and an anesthesia machine.
“We are chomping at the bit to get rolling,” Roehm said.
Fixing the Boro was started by Roehm and Jenkins, along with Chris Sterling. The nonprofit has rescued countless animals, and has provided spay/neuter assistance to many more. Roehm is the rescue coordinator for the organization, while Jenkins handles the spay/neuter coordination. The organization operates with about 20 fosters, and many more volunteers.
FTB has been renovating a donated office space on East Inman Street to become a spay/neuter clinic, which Roehm says is desperately needed in Bulloch County. She says this area was “kind of let go” by some of the other clinics nearby because they were so overrun. The new clinic will help to fill that gap.
The renovations at the building, donated by Dr. Richard Marz with the Bulloch County Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, have been challenging, she said, but now that the building has been transformed into a workable space, they are ready to purchase equipment and stock the clinic. A veterinarian has been hired, and is ready to begin work at the clinic in January.
Roehm, who will act as clinic manager, says the original model was to spay or neuter 28 pets a day, four days a week. That would be a total of 4,700 animals altered a year. They are currently planning to operate three days a week, with the vet performing about 35 procedures a day. The hours will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which Roehm said will be much more convenient for the public.
Roehm said they will likely be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic will only offer spay/neuter services; it will not be a fully functioning veterinary clinic. For veterinary services, FTB relies as it always has on Gateway Animal Hospital in Statesboro.
FTB has received many donations, monetary and otherwise, over the months leading up to the clinic’s doors opening. Most recently, they received 31 kennels, something that Roehm said was vital to their operation. They will be working with TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) to take care of cats in the county, and they plan to spay/neuter as many large dogs and community cats as possible, she said.
“Those do seem to add the most to the overpopulation problem,” she added. But she says that they won’t turn animals away.
“If there’s an opening for that day, let’s get them in,” she said.
Roehm and Jenkins are also in the process of setting up a food pantry for pets, and although it’s not finished, they’ve already helped some people with their pets. The pantry has and will serve as a communication tool, to allow them to talk with people to determine what they might need to help them keep their pets.
“For some of them, it was a month’s worth of food, and then they were starting a new job. It was as simple as that,” Roehm said.
They are planning a soft opening in the next couple of months, during which they will be working with TNR, Bulloch County Animal Services and the Statesboro Humane Society.
“That way, we’re working with animals that are urgent, but at the same time, it’s county owned and it will make the biggest difference as far as tax dollars go, as far as seeing the numbers on the street drop. That’s definitely a big thing for us,” Roehm said, adding that the soft opening would include taking appointments within two to three weeks of the official opening date, for any of those groups, and then soon after that they will open up the phone lines for the public.
Renovations are moving along at the clinic, but there are still needs. Currently, plastic or metal shelving is at the top of the list — two-, three- or four-tier. The shelving will be used for storing supplies and in the food pantry, as well as in the storage shed on the property that was donated and built by Lowe’s.
“It would be a God-send to not have to go spend $500 on shelving, just to be able to store all of these other awesome donations,” Roehm said.
FTB has a wish list on Amazon, which allows shoppers to purchase items specifically needed at the clinic. These items include cleaning and office supplies, as well as medical items like rubbing alcohol and Betadine.
“We will never, ever turn down any type of cleaning supplies, bleach cleaners, non-bleach cleaners, paper towels, and then, of course, as far as food, cat and dog food, kitten and puppy. And blankets and towels. If you’re throwing out a towel just because it has a stain or a hole in it, please give it to us,” Roehm said. “Don’t throw it in the trash can. We will be going through so many blankets and towels, once we’re open. So having a couple hundred will be really necessary for us.”
Jenkins nodded in agreement. “Cleaning supplies definitely. That’s what we’re going to go through constantly,” she said.
The clinic will also need two more computers, large indoor or outdoor trash cans, and pill bottles. Lots of pill bottles.
“It’s little things like that you don’t think about being helpful, but when you start buying whole boxes of pill bottles, you’re spending $200 on pill bottles. So it really helps,” Roehm said. “We’re so thankful for the donations. The community at this point has probably saved us about $100,000 towards this endeavor.”
Roehm says that while they don’t have the exact numbers worked out for the cost of spay/neuter services, they will follow a low-cost model, much like what PetFix Savannah uses. Their costs are: female dog, $85; male dog, $75; female cat, $60; male cat, $50; and dogs over 80 pounds, either gender, $105.
FTB’s clinic will be staffed with five people, including Roehm, Jenkins, the veterinarian and two technicians. Volunteers will also be needed to help with sterilizing the equipment, laundry and kennel cleaning.
There are also opportunities for volunteers to help out on cleaning days, and at fundraising and adoption events. And of course, fosters are always needed, as well as transports to move animals to other rescues to be adopted.
“We truly cannot ever have enough volunteers. The more fosters we have and the more funding we have, the more animals we can help,” Roehm said. “To successfully rehab an animal and see them in a good home after a bad situation, it brings a lot of peace and a lot of joy.”
For more information or to inquire about volunteering with Fixing the Boro, go online at www.fixingtheboro.com, or contact FTB via Facebook, @FixingtheBoro.