By ANGYE MORRISON
On this day one year ago, Statesboro’s low-cost spay/neuter clinic, Fixing the Boro, first opened its doors to the public. Since then, things have been exactly what they expected — except when they weren’t.
Clinic founders Sarah Roehm and Beth Jenkins were eager early last year to get the ball rolling on the clinic, after FTB had applied for and received a $67,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. FTB, which had previously operated only as a rescue organization, renovated a donated office space on East Inman Street to be used for the “snip clinic.”
In 2020, the clinic altered 2,655 dogs, cats and rabbits, and so far this year, the number has reached 1,432.
“It’s been great. We’ve been super busy,” Roehm said. “I don’t think we’ve had a weekend yet that we’ve not been at capacity. We’re doing between 12 and 25 feral community cats every day that we’re open.” The clinic is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Roehm says the clinic is servicing a six-county area right now.
“To see people say, ‘I’d rather drive two hours than not do it at all,’ that’s pretty significant,” she said.
Being as busy as they’ve been was a bit unexpected, as the ASPCA had forewarned them that they would have to work hard to keep appointment slots filled. That has just not been the case at all, Roehm said.
“We’re booked right now until July for female dogs. We anticipated that we would have to be doing a lot more community education and getting out and saying, ‘Hey would you like an appointment for your dog?’ rather than having as many people coming to us as there are,” she said. “The appointments for female dogs and cats are booked weeks and weeks in advance.”
Roehm added that there are far less male dogs and cats altered, but she says that people should know that only getting female animals spayed doesn’t solved the problem — it just chases it to another neighborhood.
The clinic operates with one veterinarian, and Jenkins oversees its operation. There are a handful of assistants and a receptionist, and Roehm handles the rescue side of things. She says that volunteers are always welcome, and that currently, there are open volunteer hours from noon to 5 p.m. each Wednesday. They are hoping to expand those hours in the future.
“The work isn’t always pretty. It’s laundry, it’s kennels, it’s socializing the cats,” she said, adding that even having people to come by and walk a dog or two around the block would be helpful.
Currently, FTB has 115 animals in rescue, and more than 80 of those are cats. They are swamped, Roehm says, with adoptable kittens and cats, and are in desperate need of litter, and wet and dry food.
But they are always willing to accept donations of wet or dry dog food, puppy pads, blankets, sheets, towels, pillowcases, pill bottles, and office supplies. FTB has a wish list on Amazon, and they are also glad to accept monetary donations as well.
Roehm says that being able to help so many people care for their pets has gone beyond just having them altered. They also provide flea and tick preventative care, as well as heartworm treatment, at a fraction of the cost seen elsewhere.
“It’s been great to give people the opportunity to do right for their pet without putting themselves in such a financial strain that they can’t do anything else,” she said.
FTB also has a pet food pantry that allows people to not only donate to help the clinic and rescue, but help those who can’t afford to feed their pets due to financial hardship.
“You can keep your pet,” Roehm said. “Let us help you.”
For more information on Fixing the Boro or to book an appointment, go online at www.fixingtheboro.com or call 912-205-5978. You can also find FTB on Facebook and Instagram.