New veterinarian at the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin

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Angel Idowu
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

JANESVILLE--For the first time in 120 years, the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin has an on-staff veterinarian.

Becky Stuntebeck, is a three-quarter-time doctor who will replace the visiting veterinarian. Stuntebeck began early this month and by August will take on all of the vet duties.

In the past, the visiting vet once a week examined and neutered animals. If animals needed surgery, they were sent to a local clinic. The new vet will do all of it.

Stuntebeck will spay and neuter more than 1,000 animals each year, work to improve shelter sanitation and monitor and care for more than 2,000 pets that go through the shelter annually.

“Specializing in shelter medicine is crucial to being successful in this job,” Stuntebeck said. “You have to learn how to manage a large group of animals while minimizing the health problems within that group of animals.

"It is my job to make sure everyone is healthy and get the animals treatment when they need it. That way, we can find them great home as quickly as we can," she said.

Brett Frazier, executive director of the Humane Society, said having an onsite veterinarian would be good for the animals and staff.

“We're so fortunate to have this new vet,” Frazier said. “We don't have to worry about transportation anymore, and they are able to observe things that may have been missed by medical staffers, counselors, or volunteers that conduct daily checks.”

The veterinarian will be paid $30 an hour on a 24-hour workweek, Frazier said.

 That will cost the humane society about $40,000 a year—about $10,000 more than what it now spends on veterinary care.

“We looked at how much we were paying to spay and neuter and how much we're spending on vets for other veterinary care. When we really got down to it, we felt confident we'd able to repurpose some of that thirty-some thousand per year,” Frazier said.

Frazier said the humane society already spends about $27,000 on outsourced spay-and-neuter surgeries. He said that cost doesn't include other veterinary care, such as X-ray evaluations and lab work that's outsourced.

Frazier said the costs will be paid for by an increase in operating cash that's come in part through a 40-percent increase in pet adoptions this year.

The humane society also will have to purchase some veterinary equipment, but those costs are still being reviewed. He said ongoing fundraising will offset those costs and future costs of employing a veterinarian.

In early 2014, the society spent half the year nailing down what would be needed for the new vet to perform surgery.

“Most of the fundraising has been going towards supplies for Becky,” Frazier said. “Since our mobile vet had her own supplies, we now need to buy surgical tools and other necessary supplies for Becky to have so she can begin surgeries."

The organization held fundraisers such as a Valentines Day dinner. It has an ongoing memorial wall where community members can buy bricks in honor of their pets. This weekend, it will be having the Bark Around the Block fundraiser from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the humane society, 222 S. Arch St., Janesville.

“More then 50 percent of our funds comes from donations,” Frazier said. “The continuous generosity from the community is fantastic, crucial in fact.”

“Our overall goal is to improve the health of pets,” Frazier said. “We wanted someone that is dedicated to the growth and expansion of the humane society, and Becky believes just that.”

“It takes a village,” Stuntebeck said. “ With a director as passionate about change as Brett, a fantastic staff that cares for the general well-being of the animals, constant support and help from the community, and a new vet that is dedicated to the health of the animals, it all adds up.”

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